Could nursing homes provide relief for crowded Midlands hospitals?

An overcrowding issue continues to plague the region's hospitals

Nursing Homes Ireland has stated nursing homes in the Midlands are positioned to facilitate timely discharges from acute hospitals of people back into the community and must be utilised, where appropriate.

Hospital overcrowding, particularly in A&E departments, continues to pose a problem with over 60 people awaiting a bed at the three Midlands hospitals, many of whom are elderly patients.

A snapshot survey undertaken by NHI of bed availability within the Midlands found that 19 beds were available within the ten private and voluntary nursing homes surveyed in counties Laois, Offaly, Westmeath.

This represents more than half the 18 private and voluntary nursing homes operating across the counties. Therefore, bed availability is 30+ beds within the midlands region, according to NHI.

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO, emphasised nursing homes are dedicated, home-from-home healthcare settings that can meet care needs beyond long-term residential care, including respite, transitional, rehabilitative care.

He said: “Our nursing homes in the Midlands are primarily positioned to facilitate timely discharges from local hospitals, where appropriate. Many people associate nursing home care with long-stay care but it is important to realise they fulfil an essential role in providing step-down care and supporting timely discharges from our acute hospitals back into the community."

"Last year over 700 persons per month were transitioned from our acute hospitals into nursing home care within their local communities. Approximately 60% of the hundreds of people who are clinically fit for discharge on a daily basis from hospitals are awaiting long-term nursing care, according to the HSE," Daly continued.

"Facilitating speedy discharge of these people into long-term nursing care, via nursing homes, will enable the HSE to free-up beds within their acute hospitals and provide the person with a more appropriate setting to meet their health and social care needs."

"Nursing homes employ teams of healthcare professional, including nurses and carers, to provide person-focussed care within dedicated healthcare settings that focus upon providing a homely environment. They have the capacity and are primarily positioned to meet long and short-stay care needs of people who require timely discharge from our hospitals," he concluded.

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