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Assistive technology at home eases bed blocking

  • Mark Sadler

We constantly hear of awful situations where patients cannot be admitted to hospital, or are on beds in corridors. Usually it’s because patients already admitted cannot be discharged to their homes through inability to provide appropriate care provision once there.

Maybe it’s time for a more ‘joined-up approach, whereby there was more flexibility to move funding from one budget to another, to pay for assistive technology that reduces or eliminates care support and gives the patient greater independence, and therefore an enhanced feeling of wellbeing, dignity.

One of our users, Rose Murphy, is a perfect case in point. Having had an operation on her arms, she was being kept in hospital because of local pressure on homecare provision. After much discussion, she convinced the ‘powers that be’ that her homecare provision was significantly less than they thought, as she had a Closomat Palma Vita, so would not need help to undertake her personal hygiene. She was allowed to go home, which accelerated her recovery as she was happier, the bed was released for another patient, and the local authority had a lesser demand on its care resources than expected.

It is not just wash & dry toilets that can have this positive impact all-round. Toilet lifters, like the Aerolet, help people get on and off the toilet, eliminating care support for this task.

Yes there are cost implications, but when you compare the cost of a wash & dry toilet or toilet lift against care provision, the capital cost is amortised within months. Numerous local authorities have undertaken their own analysis on the principle of home adaptation v care support; in every case, it is cheaper to undertake the adaptation if care provision is required for any period longer than six months. Yet even though the case is proven, it doesn’t happen enough.

Maybe that should be a challenge for any NHS overhaul under this Government: to adopt a holistic, joined-up approach that will deliver better value, financially, physically and psychologically, for all parties involved.

Closomat Limited, Building 1, Brooklands Place, Brooklands Road, Sale Cheshire, M33 3SD