Action plan leads to fewer patients from Aberdeenshire being delayed in hospital

Latest figures reveal the number of people from Aberdeenshire who were delayed in hospital reduced during 2016. The overall length of time patients were delayed in hospital also fell.

Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership’s integration Joint Board were informed at their latest meeting that the number of bed days lost due to people from Aberdeenshire being delayed in hospital dropped from 29,652 in 2015 to 20,639 in 2016. This is the equivalent of an extra ward being open for a year.

The number of people delayed in hospital also reduced from a high of 76 in August 2015 to 41 in December 2016.

The Integration Joint Board made tackling Delayed Discharge one of its main priorities. Any ongoing stay within a hospital environment which is not required can lead to the patient’s condition deteriorating. It also reduces patient flow between acute and community hospitals.

Cllr Anne Allan, Chair of Integration Joint Board said: “Significant progress has been made over the last 18 months to reduce the number of people from Aberdeenshire being unnecessarily delayed in hospital.

“One area which has been particularly successful is the introduction of intermediate care beds. This is where a person is moved from hospital to a temporary care bed, usually in a care home, for a few days to continue their rehabilitation prior to going home. Early evidence suggests this is very effective at building their confidence and independence, reducing the chances of them being readmitted to hospital.”

The introduction of Intermediate care home beds was one of the actions from Delayed Discharge Action Plan which sets out the mechanism for reducing the number of people who are delayed in hospital. This was approved in May 2015 in order to prioritise the additional funding provided by the Scottish Government.

Dr Lynda Lynch, Vice Chair of Integration Joint Board said: “I would like to congratulate all those involved in reducing the number of people delayed in hospital. We are acutely aware though that 41 people delayed in hospital is not just a statistic but represents 41 people who should be at home, not in a hospital bed. We will continue to work together to try and reduce this further.

“In any given month however, up to 20% of delayed discharges in Aberdeenshire are due to issues with guardianship.  Many people wrongly believe a family member or next of kin can automatically act on your behalf, but no one has the right to make decisions for you unless legally appointed to do so. We would therefore urge people to think carefully about getting a Power of Attorney. It would only be invoked if you were unable to make decisions for yourself."

The full report can be read here (item 7) :