€626,000 daily bill for elderly stuck in hospital

782 delayed discharges costing €626(k) per night

Recent figures released by the HSE, reveal that on the 28th October 2014, 782 patients remained in hospital despite being cleared to leave.

The vast majority of these bed blockers - 87%, are elderly patients over 65 who are prevented from leaving as alternative arrangements have not been put in place for their care.

The main reasons for the delay in discharging these patients include patients having to wait for home help, a home care package or approval for nursing home care under the Fair Deal scheme. Other delays are experienced by patients waiting for access to a rehabilitation facility or for equipment from the HSE.

According to the HSE calculation each night in a hospital bed costs between €800-900. By the HSE reckoning, this conservatively estimates that in excess of €626,000 is unnecessarily spent per night to care for these patients. This is the equivalent of almost 30,000 hours of home care.

Commenting on the figures Michael Harty, Chair, Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI), said: It is shocking that this year's public health spending includes an additional budget of €25m to tackle the 'bed-blocking' crisis due to the HSE wasting over €626,000 per night on delayed discharges. The Government needs to act now to ensure that elderly, frail people can access appropriate funding and return home from hospital as soon as possible. Currently patients are restricted by HSE protocols when choosing their care. The HCCI requests an end to the ring fencing of one type of care over another. This and increased home care funding will enable faster patient discharge which could save millions each year and free up much needed resources to safeguard frontline services. More importantly, it could also help elderly, dependent people to live longer at home. Hopefully this will also prevent unnecessary admissions in the first place.


For more information, please contact:
Michael Harty: 083 1924 987 / email: michelle@hcci.ie
Delayed Discharge figures from HSE Delayed Discharges, National Report, 28th October 2014, Report Produced on 29th October 2014.

About Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI):

Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI) was established in June 2012 following a merger of the Home Care Association and the Professional Institute of Care Providers. It is the representative body for private home care organisations in Ireland with the primary objective of promoting the highest professional standards of care in the home, in a cost-effective manner.

At present the HCCI has 25 member companies providing employment to almost 8,000 staff and caring for over 6,000 people across every county in Ireland. Home care is a care alternative that is preferred by the majority of care recipients, contributes to improved quality of life and is a cost-effective treatment option. Our members include operators across the country providing 78,000 hours of care each week at the frontline of health service provision.

For further information: www.hcci.ie