Unblocking the hospital bed at last

Finally four weeks after dad was admitted to hospital following a nasty fall at home, he’ll be moving from the hospital bed he hasn’t ‘needed’ for at least the past two weeks (he was actually ‘officially’ MFFD (medically fit for discharge) three weeks ago on Monday), to what looks like a lovely Nursing Home a few minutes round the corner today.

It’s not a permanent bed, but what’s known as a DTA (discharge to assess) one. He’ll be there for around six weeks, fully funded, while his long-term care needs are assessed, and we’ll have the opportunity to look around for somewhere suitable closer to home after that.

Having left the health service in 2013 I’d forgotten how many acronyms the system uses much of the time without even thinking. I’m certainly learning lots of new ones atm (!).

I’m mostly staying with mum during this anxious time for her, and last night watched a TV news item about Emergency Departments across the country not being able to fulfil the government targets on waiting times. They reported that much of the time, especially during the winter months, it’s due to ‘… elderly people blocking in beds in hospital‘.

You’ll recognise why that didn’t surprise me in the least!

I’d love to be able to catalogue the journey dad’s been through in the past four weeks to demonstrate how their processes are contributing to this. When the NHS only runs a full service five days a week, and over a holiday period it drops to three days, understandably little gets done and the ‘Patient System Flow’ (I guess that’ll be known as the PSF?!) stagnates.

If you’re ever ‘planning’ an emergency hospital visit, my recommendation would be to aim for a Monday morning, and definitely NEVER over xmas and New Year.

It’s not the elderly people per se who are ‘blocking’ the beds. Enough said …

On the bright side, while being mostly confined to bed, Dad has received some fantastic compassionate and kind care from the health care assistants, student nurses, qualified nurses and doctors. To be honest it’s also the first time he’s ever been adequately screened and investigated, and I’m confident that as much as possible his care will be planned according to his changing and increasing needs in the future.

And one day I’ll live on board Areandare again and have some semblance of a ‘normal’ life.

Meanwhile, back on the boat

Apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, Barry’s remained on board pottering around busying himself like a proverbial pig in the smelly stuff.

He’s used the wood from the cupboard that was removed for the fire, to make more shelving for the Boatman’s cabin, and a smaller removable table for the lounge.

He’s working on more posters showing some of the products The Home Brew Boat sells, which can be placed on the outside of the boat when we’re moored up – using magnets I think. There’s so much clever stuff around these days.

Oh and we’ve snatched the odd day or two together when one of my sisters has stayed with mum, and done some more exploring of the wonderful city of Worcester.

Barry will know it very well by the time we leave in March!


Sculptures next to Diglis Bridge, where the Battle of Worcester was fought in the late 17th century during the English Civil War

Diglis Bridge Worcester

Diglis Bridge under a clear sky and crescent moon between xmas and New Year

4 thoughts on “Unblocking the hospital bed at last

  1. Hi Sandra, really great news that your father is finally leaving hospital. We hope that he enjoys the best of heath in his new home when you get him settled in one. Also good to hear that Barry is keeping himself busy. Bet he’s giving that new stove a good workout.
    Happy New Year to you both and also to your family. Love and Best Wishes, Ray and Pauline. xx

    • Hi Ray and Pauline
      Happy New Year to you both too. Thank you for your comments and good wishes. We’ve a long way to go, but we’re getting there slowly with dad bless him. Yes Barry is keeping the home fire burning!
      Hope to see you again this year sometime on the cut. xx

  2. Hi Sandra,
    Before I retired I worked for an NHS North Wales Trust collecting and submitting statistics from all the Trust’s hospitals to the Welsh Assembly for DToC’s (Delayed Transfers of Care) commonly known as ‘bed-blocking’.

    I would ring around all the wards in all the hospitals, general, mental health etc., to find out which patients were medically fit for discharge and find out why they were still in the hospital bed. Along with my manager (a very senior nurse) we would ensure that all relevant agencies were involved and that any equipment required was available if the patient was to go home.

    This was within a department primarily concerned with ‘Continuing Care’, which as the name suggests works to ensure that patients in hospital move on to their next stage of care by liaising with other agencies to ensure that patients move from hospital as soon as possible to their correct placement. The department also looked after the continuing care of patients after the initial placement if appropriate.

    The main problems seemed (to me anyway) to be the lack of funds within the NHS and Social Services which sometimes resulted in difficulties agreeing who should fund what and this often takes quite a long time to sort out.

    The NHS Trust in which your father had a hospital bed obviously has the scheme (hopefully joint funded by all agencies involved) whereby delayed transfers of care needing nursing care transfers patients to an interim bed in a nursing home while all the above takes place.

    I hope that everything works out well in your Dad’s future care.

    • Hi Carol, thanks for that information, most helpful. We’ve heard a variety of differing ‘reasons’ from a range of people for the delays so far, so it’ll be interesting to see how the next six weeks eventuate!

      For now he arrived at a very nice home five minutes from the hospital earlier this evening, discombobulated and cross at being moved again. He’ll settle I’m sure, and we get a breathing space in which to really discover what his needs are long-term and seek the best solutions we can during the process.

      Such a minefield, I wish it could be made smoother, I’ve been challenged in so many ways in the past almost two years trying to figure out what they’re entitled to in the way of financial and physical support, it’s feels like such a tiring and cumbersome process ;-(

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