Northern Ireland Health Trusts today reminded patients and their loved ones or caregivers of the need to leave acute care hospitals as soon as they are deemed fit for discharge.
Hospital services across Northern Ireland are currently under extreme pressure and this situation could worsen over the next month to six weeks. The trusts therefore ask for the full cooperation of patients and families in planning discharge.
Speaking on behalf of the Five Hospital Trusts, Wendy Magowan, Director of Operations for the Northern Trust, said:
“We communicate directly with patients about the importance of a timely discharge – both for their own well-being and to ensure that as many beds as possible are available for those who need to be hospitalized.”
Upon admission to hospital, patients now receive letters describing the discharge planning approach. The letter acknowledges that any hospital admission is stressful for patients and their families or caregivers. However, he also points out that an unnecessary or prolonged hospital stay can be detrimental, as patients can develop infections that can have a significant impact on long-term recovery.
Continuing, Wendy Magowan said:
“Returning home will always be the first option, but many patients will need additional care and support through other services or alternative placement. In the event that patients require further rehabilitation, the most appropriate option will be considered and could include transfer to another hospital or a Murphy bed.“
The pressures on home care have been well repeated. These are exacerbated by the spread of the Omicron variant, with staff absenteeism likely to increase. This will lead to increased delays in the provision of care packages.
“In the event that a patient needs a new or more care package and is not immediately available, family members will be required to provide discharge support. until the care package is available.”Said Wendy Magowan.
“Alternatively, patients could move to a nursing home / wall bed, if space is available, to provide safe and effective care while awaiting delivery of the care package. Nursing home fees will be waived during this period.
“The harsh reality is that we need hospital beds for the seriously ill.”
Patients requiring a place in a nursing home or residential care home, but where a home of their choice is not immediately available, will be transferred to an alternative home until a bed becomes available in their home. preferred nursing home.