The NHS is facing huge challenges. Even before the coronavirus crisis, hospital waiting times have been rising steadily for years. Meanwhile, the UK's ageing population means that demand for hospital beds will only continue to increase. However, one local council is working especially hard to tackle these problems. Maidstone Borough Council's 'Helping You Home' scheme helps patients leave local hospitals safely and without delay. Lifeline24 works in partnership with Helping You Home to support people leaving hospital and prevent bed blocking.
What Is Bed Blocking in Hospitals?
Bed blocking occurs when a patient is medically ready for discharge, but is unable to leave hospital due to a lack of care at home.
Bed blocking places a strain on the NHS for several reasons. Firstly, it increases waiting times for incoming patients. If people cannot leave hospital when they're ready, they will continue to take up hospital beds, preventing new patients from being admitted. Furthermore, long stays in hospital can be bad for patients. From infection risks to mental health concerns, staying in hospital longer than necessary is far from ideal. Lastly (but by no means least), bed blocking has an enormous financial cost for the NHS: more than £587 million since 2017, according to Age UK.
Helping You Home
Maidstone Borough Council set up the Helping You Home scheme in 2017 to support the discharge team at their local NHS trust. In the last year alone, the scheme has supported 618 patients to leave hospital promptly and safely. This represents a saving of more than £84,000 for the NHS in terms of beds available! In some cases, the Helping You Home team have even been able to prevent hospital admissions in the first place.
This year, Lifeline24 has been working in partnership with Helping You Home. A Lifeline alarm can make a huge difference to the discharge process. As part of the scheme, we provide Lifeline alarms to older people who live alone so that they can recover safely in the comfort of their own homes. We've also been providing keysafes for lots of elderly and disabled patients. Having a keysafe means that people don't have to get to the door in order to let visitors in. Carers, friends, and relatives who know the secure keysafe code can therefore enter the home safely.
Personal Alarms for those Leaving Hospital
Returning home after a hospital stay can be a worrying time. A personal alarm can offer a great deal of reassurance, both to the patient being discharged and to their friends and family.
To find out more about the Lifeline alarm service, click here to read our helpful guide. You might also want to consider a keysafe. Alternatively, for more information, feel free to give us a call on 0800 999 0400. Our friendly Customer Service team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
You can order your new Lifeline alarm online at any time.