Tuesday, 11 December 2018
Department of Health
324. To ask the Minister for Health the steps he will take to address the issue of delayed discharge recordings; if an updated definition of delayed discharge has been provided to allow for a standardised means of reporting delayed discharges across all hospitals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51618/18]
As the Deputy will be aware, in June 2018, I appointed Graham Knowles, Chairperson of the University of Limerick Hospital Group, to chair a Working Group to carry out an independent expert review of delayed discharges. Delayed discharges result in longer lengths of stay for patients, impact on patient flow and contribute to congestion within the hospital system, including in our Emergency Departments. The purpose of the review was to identify the factors which result in delayed discharges and to identify short to medium term changes to reduce the overall number of delayed discharges in the acute hospital system. I received the Working Group's report in November.
The report made nine recommendations, including the development of a national policy to provide for a more consistent approach to recording delayed discharges, strengthening data collection, standardising definitions and ensuring consistent discharge guidelines. It also recommended a more integrated care approach between hospitals and community services, early discharge pathways to prevent admissions and enable assessment of care needs in the patient’s home or alternative care settings and a public health campaign to raise awareness that patients who are discharged without delay have better outcomes.
It is my intention to advance the recommendations of the review in 2019.
325. To ask the Minister for Health the steps he will take to address the shortfall of appropriate step-down care for persons being discharged from acute hospitals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51619/18]
Transitional Care Beds provide step-down care for people who have completed the acute phase of their treatment. Together with Home Supports, respite services and rehab services they allow people to continue to live in their own homes and communities. It is important that these services are provided in an integrated way.
The Government has committed significant resources to assist health services across the winter period as detailed in the HSE’s Winter Plan 2018-2019 which was published last week. While acknowledging the challenges of the winter period, the plan represents a system wide response across the health service. €10m additional funding has been released to the HSE to put in place a range of measures before the end of the year.
Support for community operations over the winter period includes the provision of an additional 550 home support packages, investment in aids and appliances and additional Transitional Care Beds which provide step-down care for people who have completed the acute phase of their treatment.
In terms of additional capacity, the plan envisages further provision of up to 70 Community and Rehab beds coming on stream on a phased basis. The plan includes a four-week period of focused action from 17 December until 13 January. During this period 9 key hospital sites and their associated Community Healthcare Organisations will be targeted with a suite of enhanced actions.