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Recent research has found that many UK patients are remaining in hospital longer than necessary due to a lack of social care. In fact, it’s estimated that as many as one in three hospital beds are currently occupied by patients who are well enough to be discharged, but have nowhere suitable to go.

Beyond placing huge pressure on the entire UK healthcare system, staying in hospital for longer than necessary can negatively impact a person’s physical and mental health, and actually exacerbate their care needs. Plus, nobody wants to spend longer in hospital than they need to – especially during the festive season.

However, online care providers are offering a potential solution to this issue by allowing people to contact skilled, qualified carers directly, and arrange appropriate care quickly and efficiently instead of being placed on long waiting lists.

For this reason, we’ve partnered with UK care provider, Curam, to explain how their care solution can help to relieve the strain on hospitals and get loved ones home in time for Christmas.

Why are people staying in hospital longer than necessary?

Why are people staying in hospital longer than necessary

Last winter, the NHS experienced a near-record high number of medically fit patients who were stuck in hospital. Over 14,000 hospital beds were occupied by people well enough to be discharged at the peak of the crisis.

Newton’s 2018 report, commissioned by the national Better Care Support Programme, followed the experiences of over 10,400 patients and found that, at any given time, almost 30% of individuals were well enough to go home but were still waiting to be discharged. The average wait time for these people to leave hospital ranged from 22 to 44 days.

While there are a number of contributing factors to hospital discharge delays, research has revealed that two key issues are a lack of social care and people not having the suitable arrangements in place for them to return home. This is because a large number of patients – particularly the elderly or those with long-term health conditions – require ongoing care after leaving hospital.

This can include care at a person’s home, in a care home, or NHS-funded hospital aftercare.

What impact can staying in hospital for longer than necessary have?

Having hospital beds occupied by people who are well enough to be discharged places a significant strain on the entire UK healthcare system. Many of us might have seen this impact ourselves through heavily congested A&E departments and ambulances having to queue outside hospitals.

But it can also have a significant impact on patients themselves. According to Curam, prolonged hospital stays can have serious physical and mental repercussions – particularly in elderly patients. This includes reduced mobility due to a loss of muscle mass, a lack of confidence to live independently, an increased risk of contracting serious infections while in hospital, and loss of existing support systems outside of hospital.

Plus, the Newton report also highlighted another issue in that, even when patients are discharged, many aren’t provided with the appropriate care for their needs. It found that 32-54% of patients were discharged to somewhere that failed to match their needs; and an alarming 92% were discharged somewhere that provided a more intense level of care than they needed and led to reductions in their independence.

How online care providers like Curam can help

How online care providers like Curam can help

At current, arranging care through local authorities can take days, or even weeks. This can be particularly problematic for people who require immediate and/or ongoing care after being discharged from hospital.

However, online care providers like Curam, which is the largest resource of self-employed carers in the UK, offer a solution to this issue by providing people with immediate access to care.

Curam’s founders have first-hand experience in the health and care sector and believe that, the client is the best person to choose their carer. On Curam’s online platform, you can advertise care roles free of charge, enjoy complete anonymity, and contact applicants directly.

Being able to speak to carers directly can make the process of arranging care much more quick and efficient – with the potential to find a carer in as little as 20 minutes. For those needing immediate care after being discharged from hospital, this can make all the difference.

In fact, according to the Newton report, it’s estimated that the ability to arrange care through online providers like Curam could triple the amount of people able to leave hospital when deemed well enough.

Plus, because all carers on Curam are required to pass a thorough vetting process – including everything from verifying DBS checks to checking that applicants have appropriate references and the right to work in the UK – you can enjoy full peace of mind about whoever you decide to hire.

Curam carers are self-employed, insured, and charge an average of £19 an hour. Curam’s fees at 10% plus VAT are among the lowest in the sector. There are no contracts, hidden fees, and Curam’s secure payment system means that a payment is only processed once a carer has completed their shift.

What types of care can I arrange through Curam?

what types of care can I arrange through curam

There are various different types of care available, and the right care for you will depend on your needs.

We’ll cover some of the main types of care below…

Hourly care

Hourly care involves having occasional visits from a carer as and when they’re needed.

For example, hourly carers can stop by to complete household tasks, take people to medical appointments, or pay more regular visits for companionship purposes.

Many people find that hourly care offers the security of having on-hand care when it’s needed, but because it’s highly flexible, it also allows people to maintain their space and independence.

For this reason, hourly care is best suited to people who have care needs at home but don’t require around-the-clock support.

Live-in care

Live-in care involves having someone live with you at home to provide around-the-clock care and support.

Responsibilities of a live-in carer include everything from companionship and emotional support to helping with personal care and domestic tasks like cleaning and cooking. Where necessary, specialist live-in care can also be provided for people with health conditions like dementia.

Live-in care is a fantastic option for people who need care but wish to maintain their independence, and most importantly, remain in the comfort of their own home, rather than going into a care home.

Overnight care

Overnight care involves having a carer stay overnight in your home to respond to your needs.

This could include assistance going to the bathroom, taking medication, or simply for peace of mind that someone is there to support you during the nighttime should you need it.

For more information and guidance, you might also like to have a read of our articles; 7 common types of care explained and Live-in care vs hourly care – what are the benefits?

If you need immediate assistance, Curam also offers emergency home care and post-operative care at home services.

There are various ways to arrange post-hospital care through Curam, including via email, phone, online, or through the Curam app. Curam’s dedicated team are available to answer any questions and will support you all the way through selecting carers who best match your needs.

Final thoughts…

Staying in hospital for longer than necessary can have a significant impact on the entire UK healthcare system, as well as a patient’s own physical and mental wellbeing.

The UK’s lack of adult social care is a significant contributor to this issue, but luckily, online care platforms like Curam can offer a lifeline to people who need immediate care after being discharged from hospital.

Whether you need mobility assistance, help with personal care, or someone with specialist experience in dementia or physical disabilities, the team at Curam are on hand to help you find the right carer for your needs.

If you’d like to find out more about how Curam’s care solution can help you get a loved one home from hospital in time for Christmas this year, head over to the Curam website.

Or, for further reading, head over to the care section of our website. Here you’ll find everything from different types of care to support for carers and advice on paying for care.

Are you hoping to get a loved one home from hospital in time for Christmas? How have care providers like Curam helped you? We’d be interested to hear from you in the comments below.