Endless cycle of hospital readmissions

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Older people are at risk of being repeatedly readmitted to hospital because of a lack of suitable support in their home environments and communities.

In and Out of Hospital, a report published by the British Red Cross, warns of an ‘endless cycle of avoidable hospital readmissions.’ Some frail, older or vulnerable people are discharged from hospital and sent home, where conditions are unsuitable, they feel unsafe and the right care is not in place. Subsequently, they are then having to go straight back to emergency departments.

Not only is this distressing and disruptive for those concerned, but it is also putting additional and unnecessary strain on already overstretched emergency services and departments.

According to The British Red Cross, the latest figures show that emergency hospital admissions have risen by 22.8% in the last five years. People being readmitted within 48 hours now accounts for one in five of all emergency readmissions.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Today’s report vividly paints an all too familiar picture. Many vulnerable people with dementia have repeated and extended hospital stays because of a lack of available support in the community.

“It’s of little surprise that a social care system starved of funding cannot be responsive to the needs of frail, older people. When a person with dementia returns home from hospital to a setting poorly equipped to prevent falls, with limited or no support with daily tasks, the consequences can be grave and they soon find themselves in need of emergency care.

“The perilous situation of the social care system has been all too well documented. The forthcoming government consultation must amount to wide scale reform, otherwise people with dementia will continue to pay the price of a system that is patently not fit for purpose.”

The study recommends introducing automatic home assessments and other simple interventions for elderly and vulnerable people who are often in and out of hospital. For more details on the report’s key recommendations, visit: http://www.redcross.org.uk/en/About-us/Advocacy/Health-and-social-care/In-and-out-of-hospital