27/09/2012

'Medically Fit' Hospital Patients Stuck In Limbo

A new report has revealed that patients declared fit for hospital discharge are still occupying wards more than six months later.

It is understood some 680 mostly elderly people, who no longer need hospital treatment, cannot be discharged and are stuck in limbo.

Delays in providing outside supports like a nursing home place, home care packages or rehabilitation are being blamed.

Around 300 of these patients were forced to spend more than a month longer in hospital than they needed to.

Michael Harty of Home and Community Care Ireland, which represents home care providers, estimates that the entire bill for looking after 680 such patients could run to nearly €550,000 a night. This would buy 25,000 hours of home care, the Irish Independent reported.

It comes as the HSE said another 852 other hospital beds are also out of bounds and are closed due to cost cutting, refurbishment or infection control.

The report to the Dail Committee on Public Accounts showed that Dublin hospitals had the highest number of patients who could be discharged if there was a suitable facility or home support for them to go to.

(H)


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