United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust is working with social care providers to reduce delays when patients are ready to leave a hospital but are still occupying beds.
This joint working approach is said to be making a real difference and has allowed hospital bosses to perform more efficiently in other areas.
The hospital trust is now performing consistently below the upper limit target of 3.5 per cent which was set by the Department of Health in its 2017/18 mandate to NHS England.
Delays can occur when patients are being discharged home or to a supported care facility, such as a residential or nursing home, or are awaiting transfer to a community hospital or hospice.
Delayed transfers – also referred to as ‘DTOCs’ – are a significant concern to patients and staff in the health and care system so this reduction in delays is having a positive impact for everyone.
It has been reported that unnecessary longer stays in hospital can increase the risk of infection and negatively affect patients’ mental health. DTOCS can also drain resources and disrupt the flow of patients through a hospital with significant financial implications.
Carolyn Nice, Assistant Director of Adult Care at the county council said: “Adult Social Care and the County Council are committed to working with our partners to ensure that local residents, who have needed to go into hospital, are supported to return home as soon as possible. We continue to work with colleagues across the system to ensure that people who do not need to be in hospital are supported to remain at home.
“Having a system focus is the key to keeping people at home for longer and having positive, honest working relationships is critical to that focus. It is a really positive outcome of the closer working which the council and our partners have been able to achieve and huge thanks and credit needs to go to all of our front line staff and clinicians across the trust and in the community for such an achievement.”
Examples of joint working include Neighbourhood Working, Enhanced Care Homes Project, Falls Service and Jointly Commissioned Beds in the Community.