I read the article on bed-blocking.with interest as my mother has been a patient in a foundation trust in the North West for nearly six months following a severe stoke.
The article infers that the main reason for recent delays tends to be more directly linked to patients and carers rather than social care issues, which has been the case in the past.
.Suggested reasons for the delayed discharges cited include:
- patients and carers are faced with the 'dreadful dilemmas' of selling the family home;
- difficulty of finding nursing homes suitable for an individual's needs;
- questioning the assessment made by healthcare staff with threats to challenge decisions in the courts.
Seeing a parent change from being fairly independent to totally dependent overnight is a deeply distressing experience. It is also deeply distressing, but has been accepted by the family, that my mother's home needs to be sold to pay for her future care.
What is distressing is that health and social care professionals, in their efforts to push people through the system to meet government targets, seem to forget that selling the home to pay for nursing home care is a significant life change, and should be done with empathy for the patient and family.
We have questioned the assessment process that was carried out to determine my mother's future care needs, not because we did not agree with the allocated.funding but because we were not involved in the process and the quality of the information documented was either inaccurate, inconsistent or non-existent. Two of many examples are given below:
- there was no mention of the vertigo and sickness my mother suffers when she is moved, a particular problem when transferred from one location to another;
- there was no mention of the pain that she had been experiencing for two months - which was not being appropriately acknowledged or treated.
This assessment documentation is used to draw up a care plan on which the nursing home bases its care. Therefore, had we not questioned the assessment process her care and safety would have been severely compromised.
Giving up a family.home to move into a nursing home is a significant event, and probably marks the start of the final chapter in a vulnerable older person's life. Time is needed to help make this transfer. This is no more than we would all expect should we find ourselves in a similar situation.
Monica Dennis, registered nurse