The narrative about various inter-related crises in health and social care typically concerns the problem of excess demand for, and limited supply of, places in the community providing support for persons needing to be discharged from hospitals. Commentators commonly write on the pressing need for novel and innovative solutions to the root-cause of hospital over-crowding, the lack of spare capacity which impedes patient flow within and out of hospitals, the problem of potentially unsafe high hospital bed-occupancy levels, and the burden of unnecessarily delayed transfers of care of patients needing to move back into community-based care, “closer to home”.
The healthcare start-up company CareRooms has devised a “paradigm-shifting” solution to the above mentioned problems, involving hospital patients being awarded funding to receive basic supported care and accommodation in local residents’ spare rooms, to facilitate the discharge and rehabilitation process. Paradoxically, this novel suggestion has met with apparently overwhelming criticism and negative press reaction, ahead of time. Time to re-consider?
“We will never compromise the safety and quality of care for patients and we will not support this pilot until the necessary safeguarding and quality arrangements are in place and there has been full engagement and discussion with our local communities on the proposal”. Tom Abell: Deputy chief executive of Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Southend Hospital backs off ‘Airbnb beds’ plan. London: BBC Essex News / BBC Health News, October 26th 2017.
NHS Airbnb-style scheme ‘not ruled out’ by minister. London: BBC Politics News / BBC Health News, October 29th 2017.