Once people no longer need hospital care, being at home or in a community setting (such as a care home) is the best place for them to continue recovery. However, unnecessary delays in being discharged from hospital are a problem that too many people experience.
In particular, we know that longer stays in hospital for older people can lead to worse health outcomes and can increase their long-term care needs. For people aged 80 years and over, 10 days spent in a hospital bed equates to 10 years of muscle wastage – this is known as ‘deconditioning’.
By integrating services, we can make the best use of health, social care, housing and voluntary organisations to avoid keeping people in hospital longer than they need to be there. When done right, this will mean that people who need care can be looked after at home or in their community, with fewer and shorter stays in hospital.
When organisations work together more people can be discharged in a timely manner to receive the right care, in the right setting, at the right time.