A plan to coordinate nursing and social care to help end costly bed blocking in hospitals has started.
Hospital chiefs and social services organisers told Banburyshire healthcare stakeholders this week that integrated care plans would be created for patients moving fro m acute care.
Using £2m from the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) 120 nursing home beds have been acquired for patients now stuck in beds at the Horton, JR and the county’s community hospitals. The contract lasts for eight weeks.
It is hoped those beds, which will be reduced to 75 in January, will serve 220 patients who might otherwise have been left in hospital, though fit to move out of acute care.
They will be cared for by a variety of health professionals including GPs, NHS nurses, district nurses and therapists to help them recover enough to go home with support or to suitable permanent care.
“It is a short term intervention. We will evaluate this on a weekly basis and have a formal review in February to decide if the balance is in place and this will be a permanent feature,” said Paul Brennan, Oxford University Hospitals Trust’s director of clinical services.
Mr Brennan said delayed discharges - known as bed blocking - caused increased waiting times because beds were not available for post operative surgical cover. There are currently some 142 patients needing to be moved.
At the meeting on Tuesday concern was expressed about whether the plan could be derailed by exceptional demand on hospital services in cases such as cold weather incidents .
And questions were asked about the consequences of the closure of 24-hour E-Ward.
Mr Brennan said ‘virtually all’ E-Ward patients are medical, with some seven gynaelogical patients a week needing overnight care. Those needing to stay in hospital after surgery would be managed on F-Ward - the orthopaedic ward - he said.
Horton consultant anaesthetist Graham Walker said breast cancer patients needing major reconstructive surgery were likely to have their operations at the Churchill Hospital. He said physicians were worried that, with a net seven extra beds, the ‘snowball will roll again’ and delayed discharges would increase.