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Stillz Home Lifts has backed the British Healthcare Trades Association’s call for ‘bed blocking’ to be treated as an emergency and supported its plans for tackling delayed hospital discharges.

‘Bed blockers’ – most of them senior citizens – are otherwise known as patients occupying a hospital bed when they are ready to go home. According to NHS England statistics, bed blocking caused more than 140,000 delayed days across NHS organisations in April, 2018.

Every extra day spent in hospital costs the NHS money, but patients who do not need to be there also have a greater risk of developing an infection, for example, or even start to suffer with bed sores. For those who are frail or suffer from dementia, their conditions can deteriorate in hospital due to muscle wastage and a lack of physical activity.

A review found that in many cases bed blocking was due to a delay in the completion of assessments or the provision of community equipment or adaptations was postponed. Community equipment ranges from simple items such as walking sticks, crutches or walking frames to more complex equipment such as beds, hoists or pressure care equipment.

The BHTA’s recent-released paper, Action on Delayed Transfer of Care, suggests that procurement policies could be improved in order to speed up the delivery of these items within five days and calls for delayed discharges to be treated as ‘emergencies’.

The paper strongly supports an improvement in the integration of services which can lead to better healthcare and outcomes for patients. This can result in crucial cost savings for the NHS which is always under mounting financial pressure.

The findings also suggest tax incentives should be introduced in order to encourage people who are looking towards retirement to buy homes and ‘future proof’ them with adaptations for use in later life.

Stiltz Home Lifts are members of the BHTA and volunteered studio time of their designer to help produce a well-designed, professional document to help out while resources were stretched within BHTA.

Gino Farruggio, its UK Trade Sales Director for Stiltz Home Lifts, who is also Vice Chairman for Stairs and Access at the BHTA, said: “At Stiltz Homelifts, we wholeheartedly support the BHTA’s call for a reduction of bed blocking and agree delayed discharges need to be treated as emergencies.

“It is vital that the patient receive the necessary equipment and care they need to get them back into their homes as soon as possible. This is in the best interests of the patient from a health point of view and takes the financial pressure off the NHS as it will free up another hospital bed.

“In my role at the BHTA, the association has worked very hard on this new paper and we hope that the suggestions we have put forward will ultimately help the NHS find a solution to reducing this ongoing problem of bed blocking in this country.”

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