Scheme will help people leave hospital more quickly

February 9th, 2016 by Robert Weatherall in Home Group News

A man stands outside of a house, cutting a ribbon.

A service designed to help people leave hospital when they are ready to be discharged has been officially unveiled.

Stonham, the UK’s largest care and support provider, has started working with Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust to create a service to help people with mental health conditions who are ready to leave hospital but are unable to return to their home.

The Stonham Step Down service has been designed to combat the problem of delayed discharge, sometimes referred to as bed blocking.

Common reasons for delayed discharge include adaptations being required to someone’s home before they can return or, in the case of those with mental health conditions, transitional support to help them access suitable accommodation and become fully independent once more.

The service has been established in Blackpool and will be run by Stonham – part of not-for-profit housing provider Home Group. It will provide short term accommodation and 24 hour support to people who no longer need clinical care in an inpatient setting and would otherwise be using a hospital bed space.

Nationally delayed discharge is estimated to cost the NHS £287m each year. Each excess bed day costs £275, according to the Department of Health.

Sarah Clark, Home Group head of client services said: “It’s frustrating for the patient when they are clinically able to leave hospital but have to remain because their home is unsuitable or they just need a little help re-adjusting to being independent.

“This adds unnecessary costs to the taxpayer and contributes to the pressure on mental health beds. This service provides a real alternative to staying in hospital. We’ve argued for a long time that housing, health and social care can work together to create an improved service for patients and efficiencies for under pressure budgets”

The service contains 12 self-contained flats allowing people to enjoy privacy while they wait to be able to return to their home or find alternative accommodation.

Helen Lynch, Specialist Rehabilitation Services Manager from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our number one priority is to ensure that our service users are cared for in the most appropriate environment and we’re delighted to be working with Stonham Home Group to ensure that people in Blackpool have a safe place to go when they are discharged from hospital but are unable to return to their home straightaway.
“This new joint initiative will also help towards reducing the bed pressures mental health services currently face and will ensure that service users can move on when they’re ready to be cared for out of hospital.”
One of those benefiting from the service is Philip Atkin. The 52-year-old officially opened the service in Hornby Road. He said: “The staff here are very good and help each client in whatever way they can. Services like this will help people come out of hospital sooner.

“In my case it provided the support I needed to prevent me from going into hospital so it has eliminated a hospital stay.”

People will stay in the service for an average of 6 weeks and a maximum of 13 weeks. The service will be available to those who are registered with a Blackpool based GP and have accommodation or support needs.