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overcrowding crisis

HSE moving some patients to nursing homes to free up beds

Some patients who have ‘delayed discharge’ are being moved to free nursing home beds.

THE HSE IS moving people of ‘delayed discharge’ status into nursing homes, in an effort to free up hospital beds.

Nursing Home Ireland (NHI) surveyed all nursing homes yesterday to find out the number of unoccupied beds across Ireland. Within the 277 out of 442 nursing homes who responded, there are 1,261 unoccupied beds.

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO stated they are “extremely concerned at the escalating crisis within acute hospitals and the very high number of persons who are fit for discharge but remaining with these inappropriate settings”.

Delayed discharge

This morning, HSE CEO Tony O’Brien told Morning Ireland that the root cause of the current overcrowding is the number of people whose phase of acute care has ended but for whom it has not been possible to place them elsewhere. These are known as delayed discharge cases.

NHI is engaged with the HSE on the issue. Daly said it is “important to recognise the current crisis is complex and multifaceted”.

The under-resourcing of the Fair Deal scheme in 2014 has led to a crisis in older person care. It has led to the distressing situation of an extraordinary number of older persons remaining in hospital beds unnecessarily and inordinate waiting times for older people to access nursing home care.

“The 800 older persons unnecessarily in acute hospitals at present highlight the critical role nursing home care plays in supporting acute services,” said Daly, reiterating NHI’s call for a forum on the issue.

Tony O’Brien told Morning Ireland that there are more people currently classed as delayed discharge than there are people on trollies, and that since December there has been a particular focus on this.

He said they are focused now on “clearing away all of the normal red tape” and to get as many of the people moved, irrespective of if they have completed their Fair Deal processes, into the nursing home beds.

Of the location of these homes, O’Brien said “they’re not always exactly where people would want to go, but we need to make sure everyone who is in hospital whose consultant has confirmed that their care is complete can be made an offer of a move immediately”.

Elective surgeries

Earlier today, it emerged that managers at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin cancelled all elective surgeries this week in response to overcrowding.

In a statement, the hospital said: “Delayed discharges, in particular, have led to considerable strain on resources.”

Read: Overcrowding crisis: Surgeries cancelled at Beaumont as trolley figures remain high>

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