Helping reduce delayed discharges in Somerset

Lib Dem run Somerset is working hard to reduce delayed discharges in local hospitals. The “Community Pull” is where the senior teams from Adults Social Care, the NHS and community organisations spend days on the wards in the acute hospitals working alongside local teams to speed up the discharge process.

This is increasing the number of discharges in the short term but is also identifying improvements we can all make to the way we work and also build understanding and better collaborative approaches.

Somerset County Council is working closely with colleagues from our Acute and Community health trust to ensure people are able to access the right support when they leave hospital. For most people this will be returning to their own home with support from family and friends or the voluntary sector. Occasionally people may need some more formal support to help them at home to re-establish their daily routines and their mobility to help them remain independent, this is called reablement. There is also sometime a requirement for people to continue reablement in a bedded facility before they are able to return to their own home.

There are challenges when the capacity to support people at home is limited, usually due to workforce gaps or sickness. This can cause longer waits than normal for people in hospital and can then in-turn impact the ability of the hospitals to move people on from their Emergency Departments. Winter can be an even more pressurised time than normal but the health and care sector in Somerset are working on a number of initiatives to help maintain flow through our hospitals.

These include:

  • Recruitment of overseas staff both into health roles but also as care workers and social workers
  • Further short-term investment to expand services across 7 days; including Community Agents who help to connect people with support from their own communities
  • Investment into more home care capacity across somerset
  • Special events within the hospitals themselves, led by managers of adult social care and community services, to help pull people through the hospitals and speed up discharges
  • Continued lobbying of government to ensure there is long-term investment in the social care sector, particularly in the pay and career prospects for care workers to attract more people into the sector.

More information was on Radio 4’s Today programme, the clip starts at 2:10:00 minute in: Today - 03/01/2023 - BBC SoundsToday - 03/01/2023 - BBC Sounds.