Age charity describes “frighting scenarios” of patients being discharged without care package
A charity for elderly people has warned that Welsh Government advice to discharge patients without a package of care is leading to older patients, families and carers to face “frightening scenarios.”
Age Cymru has been receiving calls from people impacted by the new advice with one caller describing how they were told by the hospital that a taxi had been arranged and they should be available to meet her mother when she arrived home.
Another patient who called the charity described being told by the hospital that she would be discharged whether she agreed to it or not.
Earlier this week senior NHS staff were advised by the Welsh Government to discharge people well enough to leave hospital without a care package in place.
Health and social case systems have been struggling to cope with an increase in patients needing emergency care this winter and four Welsh health boards have warned of “extreme pressure” and long waiting times.
The advise from the government came following a shortage of hospital beds as patients medically well enough to go home have been unable to do so due to a lack of social care available once discharged.
The national charity for older people in Wales empathised with staff in both health and social care who are having to make difficult decisions under extreme pressure.
Age Cymru’s chief executive Victoria Lloyd says “As the most frequent users of social care, older people will be disproportionately affected by this change in advice. We are extremely worried that without the right care and support people are at risk of deterioration and readmission which benefits no one, least of all the patient.
“We are also very concerned about the impact on unpaid carers who will have to care for a loved one without appropriate support or planning, which could push them to breaking point and adversely affect their own health. This could ultimately lead to what could have been an unavoidable readmission to hospital.”
“Clear and sensitive communication”
“For any discharges from hospital that are made without a care package it is vital that they’re safe and that there are processes in place to ensure that this is the case. In addition, there must be clear and sensitive communication with patients, families, and carers so people have the necessary information and support and know where to turn if they need help.”
People are advised to avoid A&E departments whilst the health boards battle to get waiting times and bed blocking under control.
The Welsh Lib Debs said the direction from the Welsh Government to discharge patients without adequate care packages is “deeply concerning” and could lead to patients being readmitted.
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