Hospital discharge chief calls for communities to help relieve bed pressure

As Blackpool Teaching Hospitals continue to face extraordinary pressures, the Trust’s Head of Hospital Discharge has asked for families and carers of patients to help relieve the pressure by streamlining the flow from acute to community provision.

Though the Emergency Department is at the forefront of those pressures, the Trust is also working tirelessly to make acute beds available for patients who need to be admitted. However delays in families accepting community care options is having a significant impact on discharge and flow of patients through the healthcare system.

“At any one time we can have a hundred patients who are delayed in hospital,” said Chris Broadbent, Head of Discharge at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals.

“We are still under a pandemic measure and we are still following national guidelines around our discharge processes. That means we don’t do discharge planning on the acute site at Blackpool Victoria, we look to discharge patients home as soon as possible and as safely as possible.”

While NHS Guidelines normally allow patients a choice on where they are placed for their ongoing care, current pandemic pressures, and a shortage of community beds, mean that the Trust has to place patients on a ‘next available bed’ basis.

“Patient choice is a highly sensitive conversation we have with all our families,” Chris continued.

“Due to the pandemic and the pressures throughout the Trust we as a service and a hospital and an integrated provider with health and social care, we’ve had to reduce choice when it comes to placements. We have to reduce choice because the number of beds that are available are very low.

“So what does that mean for you or your loved one? We look to discharge patients to the next available bed. Now this may not be your choice, it may not be the placement of your choice, but we look to discharge patients where there is a bed and capacity to take and can meet your relative or your need.

“When it comes to choice we need communities to be forward-thinking and understanding, working with our teams to ensure there’s little delay in your pathway or your relative’s pathway. Choice is always given where it can be given, but where we have to reduce that, and we go to the next available bed, we need help to relieve pressures within the hospital and ensure we have enough acute beds for those who need them the most.”

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