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  • Northside West

Delayed hospital discharges slammed

Thursday, 4th July, 2019 8:00am

Story by Jack Gleeson
Delayed hospital discharges slammed

Beaumont had 45 delayed discharges.

Delayed hospital discharges slammed

Beaumont had 45 delayed discharges.

A LACK of home care supports has been blamed for over 100 patients a week being kept in Northside hospitals after they should be discharged.

Figures obtained from the HSE by Dublin North West TD, Róisín Shortall (SD), show that on two separate weeks in June there were close to 600 delayed discharges nationally.

Three Dublin hospitals – St James’s, Beaumont and the Mater – had the highest numbers among 36 voluntary and public hospitals.

The most recent figures show the Mater had 44 delayed discharges, Beaumont had 45, Connolly Hospital 21 and there was seven in Cappagh Hospital.

“These figures show that our major acute hospitals have the highest numbers of delayed discharges,” said Deputy Shortall.

“Every one of these figures represents a patient who is needlessly occupying a hospital bed when they would be much better off being cared for in a nursing home, a stepdown facility or in their own home with appropriate home care supports.

“The scandalous lack of home care supports is now a permanent feature of our broken health system. It causes huge distress to patients and their families and is nothing short of callous.

“Consigning people to longer than necessary stays in hospital is also the most expensive way for our health service to operate.”

The figures coincide with a denial from the HSE that there is a ‘freeze’ in home help hours after accusations from Sinn Fein TDs, including Dublin North West deputy, Dessie Ellis.

As reported recently in Northside People, Deputy Ellis claimed the HSE had effectively suspended the allocation of home help to new applicants until November.

However, the HSE responded by saying that while there was increased demand for home support packages, the majority of those waiting were in their own home and many were already receiving home care but were waiting for additional support.

“Despite the significant level of service provision, the demand for home support continues to grow,” a spokesperson said.

“The main reason for increased demand relates to the increase in demographics of older people.

“Nationally, at the end of April 2019, the number of people waiting for funding for Home Support was 6,310.

“The majority of those awaiting funding are in their own home. Many are already in receipt of home support but are awaiting funding for additional support.

“All those waiting for home support are assessed and provided with a new or additional service as soon as possible.”

Speaking last week in the Dail, Deputy Ellis said he had spoken to staff who administer home care packages throughout Dublin North West and was told that a reduction in the provision of home care packages had resulted in a backlog of people looking for supports.

“People with disabilities should have access to appropriate home care packages that will allow them to live their lives independently,” he said.

“Society has a duty to allow people to stay in their homes and be looked after there if they so wish. For many who receive home care supports, this means that they only get personal care and some meal preparation.

“Most will require a greater level of support and this cannot happen if the current situation continues.”

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