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Why Are We Stuck in Hospital? Research Reveals Barriers When Leaving Long-Stay Hospital Care

Care England has welcomed the new research from the University of Birmingham and the rights-based organisation Changing Our Lives, ‘Why are we stuck in hospital?’, which explores the barriers people with a learning disability and autistic people face when trying to leave long-stay hospitals in England.

Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, says: “Over six years on from the publication of the NHS ‘Transforming Care Programme’ and more than 2 years since the CQC ‘Out of Sight – Who Cares?’ there are still 2,000 people in inappropriate settings. Throughout the country, there are many providers of high-quality person-centred care who have demonstrated the improved outcomes that can be achieved when people are supported closer to home, and with better access to the communities in which they live. The development of high-quality residential services would allow for individuals located in inappropriate hospital settings to be discharged into a setting which is able to support their needs appropriately. The system must work towards the satisfaction of the goals set out in the Transforming Care publication. The system must be transformed so services are commissioned and delivered to stop people from being placed in hospital inappropriately, provide the right model of care, and drive up the quality of care and support for all people with challenging behaviour.”

The research by the University of Birmingham and Changing Our Lives shows a complex system where people are subject to labels and overcomplicated care as a result of a miss-managed and unorganised system that struggles to plan, coordinate, and deliver effective, person-centred care for those that need it. This can lead to mistreatment, and patients falling through the cracks without the proper support.

The research is based on three case study sites across the country, trying to understand barriers and success factors from the point of view of people in hospital, families and health and social care staff.

Key lessons are summarised in a new policy guide which will be sent to every health and social care leader in the country, based on ‘ten top tips’ from people in hospital, families and staff.

Martin Green continues: “A government commitment to fix social care, backed by appropriate levels of funding and true collaboration between all relevant stakeholders, is needed. Social care providers have shown many times examples of people being supported 3-to-1 or 4-to-1 in hospitals, and then with effective holistic, respectful support in capable environments, they can reduce that gradually over time. There needs to be a greater level of trust and support for care providers through joint partnership working between health and care professionals, and the provision of appropriate services within the community. It is well established that hospitals represent an inappropriate care setting, with models of care that are reactive and fail to meet the complex needs of these individuals, and it should not take another national scandal for the Government to react accordingly. The development of high-quality residential services would allow for individuals located in inappropriate hospital settings to be discharged into a setting which can support their needs and at a pace that is sensible and person-centred in approach.”

















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