Health board extends scheme which transfers patients to care homes to free up hospital beds
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
Some hospital patients in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot will continue to be transferred to care homes to free up hospital beds, health chiefs have decided.
Many elderly patients who are well enough to be discharged but who require a package of care get stuck in hospital because that package of care is not available – and that slows the flow of patients coming into wards and compounds pressures at the front door.
Swansea Bay University Health Board decided last autumn to commission up to 100 “transitional” care home beds to support these medically fit patients.
Funding was set aside up to the end of March this year, but the scheme has now been extended to the end of November.
The number of care home beds being used at any one time has been 45 to 50, chief operating officer Inese Robotham told a meeting of the health board. She said she hoped this number would increase.
A report before the board said bed availability had been affected by staffing, infection outbreaks and operational issues within the homes. However, the scheme to date has saved 5,805 hospital bed days.
The care home bed scheme has cost £619,491 between November 15, 2021 – when it got up and running – and March 31 this year.
Eleven care homes in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot have been used, with just over half the expenditure on placements in Swn-y-Mor Care Centre, Port Talbot, and Brynhyfryd House nursing home, Swansea.
The health board agreed to extend the scheme by eight months, allocating £2 million to be spent on 58 care home beds.
Health board chief executive Mark Hackett said there was a lot of bed capacity generally in the care home sector.
Emma Woollett, the health board’s chairwoman, said of the scheme: “It’s clearly an important part of our overall strategy to improve unscheduled care pressures.
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