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Discharging older people from hospital without care packages

by Martyn Jones
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age cymru

Discharging older people from hospital without care packages

We understand that health and social care systems are facing huge challenges right now.  Balancing the needs of large number of patients requiring urgent care and those of the patients in hospital who are unable to return home because there are no available care packages is extremely challenging.

We empathise with staff in both health and social care who are making difficult decisions under extreme pressure.  However, there are now many older patients, families and carers across Wales who are facing frightening scenarios.

At Age Cymru we are already getting calls from people who are being impacted by the new advice from Welsh Government. In one case an individual says she was told by the hospital that a taxi had been arranged and they should be available to meet her mother when she arrived home.

Another said that the hospital told her that a discharge would be made whether they agreed or not and regardless of whether a care package was in place.

Age Cymru’s Chief Executive Vicki Lloyd says “As the most frequent users of social care, older people will be disproportionately affected by this change in advice. We are extremely worried that without the right care and support people are at risk of deterioration and readmission which benefits no one, least of all the patient.

“We are also very concerned about the impact on unpaid carers who will have to care for a loved one without appropriate support or planning, which could push them to breaking point and adversely affect their own health. This could ultimately lead to what could have been an unavoidable readmission to hospital.”

For any discharges from hospital that are made without a care package it is vital that they’re safe and that there are processes in place to ensure that this is the case. In addition, there must be clear and sensitive communication with patients, families, and carers so people have the necessary information and support and know where to turn if they need help.”

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