Concern over 'blocked' hospital beds
Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) has expressed concern about the number of patients currently occupying hospital beds who have finished their acute treatment but cannot access alternative nursing home or other community care.
It says delays in Fair Deal nursing home funding aplications are leading to many patients having to remain in acute hospitals beyond their allotted time, adding to bed pressures in the system.
The organisation has called on the HSE to prioritise applications and accelerate the nursing home funding approval process under Fair Deal.
Around 770 beds in acute hospital wards were occupied by 'delayed discharge' patients at the end of January.
There are reported to be 100 such 'blocked' beds in Beaumont Hospital alone.
The high number of 'blocked' beds in acute hospitals puts severe pressure on bed availability, which in turn puts pressure on emergency departments seeking to admit patients.
NHI says its nursing home members around the country are reporting very lengthy waiting times for the processing of applications under the Fair Deal scheme.
"People in need of nursing home care are, in many cases, waiting a number of months for their application to be approved," NHI said.
"This inordinate delay means hundreds of people are occupying acute hospital beds unnecessarily and the care they are receiving in such facilities is being provided at a greater cost to the taxpayer than the care that is more suited to their needs in the community care settings of nursing homes," NHI added.
This morning, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, there were 358 patients on hospital trolleys awaiting admission through EDs.
This included 35 on trolleys at Beaumont and 32 at Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown.
[Posted: Wed 15/02/2012]