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Care home closures keep thousands of older people trapped in hospital

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Care home closures are happening at an alarming rate, leaving 3,500 medically fit older people trapped in hospitals across the UK.

In this article, we'll take a look at why care homes are closing so rapidly. We'll also explain the importance of helping older people return home as soon as they're physically able.

What is the situation with care home closures today?

According to the latest statistics, 148 residential care homes closed during the last financial year. This is equivalent to roughly 12 each month, and represents an 83% rise on 2016/17.

However, problems extend beyond the care homes that have been forced to close. The rapid rate of closures has placed additional strain on those that remain open, often resulting in a decline in overall care standards.

Therefore, this has affected many more people than those kept in hospital. Mike Padgham, the former chair of UKHCA estimated: "About 1.2 million people are now going without the care they need".

Why are care home closures happening at such a rate?

Most commentators cite funding as the main reason why care home closures are happening so rapidly, with Padgham stating:

"We have been warning for years that the £6 billion cut from social care would eventually mean more and more care homes closing ... We now face a further £2.3 billion funding shortfall and that is going to mean more and more people not getting care."

However, other financial factors are also at play here. With an ageing population and increasingly beneficial yet complex medical treatment options, the average care cost per individual is rising.

A hike in the National Living Wage has also added to residential care home costs. Meanwhile, with demand for care staff outstripping supply, care homes are increasingly having to rely on more expensive agency staff.

Why is it so important to discharge older people on time?

Discharging older people from hospital as soon as possible is crucial in terms of both their physical and psychological well-being.

Even with the best efforts of hospital staff, older people have an increased risk of developing an infection while in hospital. This infection could result in severe symptoms and require the individual to extend their hospital stay.

Hospital can also have a negative psychological effect, with older people becoming fearful or concerned about their lack of self-determination. Research indicates:

  • 13.5% develop severe depression
  • 18.4% develop moderate depression
  • 18.7% experience anxiety

Of those who reported these symptoms, 40% reported having the same symptoms three months after they were discharged.

How live-in care makes hospital discharge less stressful

Live-in care enables you or your loved one to overcome these factors and makes the hospital discharge process much easier to manage.

Instead of waiting for a residential place to open up, you can return to your beloved family home as soon as you're medically able.

Your live-in care team will prepare your home for your return. They'll create a welcoming environment that's fully equipped to support your recovery.

At The Good Care Group, we've even developed a special multidisciplinary 'Supported Discharge Service' to make sure you have access to everything you need to recover as best possible.

If you would like to learn more about how live-in care helps older people stay safe and supported in their own home, speak with our friendly team.

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