How We, on Average, Reduce a Patient’s Stay in Hospital by Six Days

Today, a study from The Nuffield Trust revealed the stark reality of hospital treatment time in Wales. Faye Patton, Project Manager for Care & Repair’s Hospital to a Healthier Home project, responds to these findings.

Today’s report shows that a patient in Wales stays in hospital for an average of seven days, compared to four days in England. This means that while a bed in England can see up to 91 patients a year, this is only 52 in Wales.

Yet, there are services and projects which offer immense hope for the NHS in Wales, such as our Hospital to a Healthier Home service. The service works with NHS staff to identify patients over 50 who could potentially complete most of their recovery at home, but need some changes made to their home environment before it is safe to do so. We make those changes, so discharge is possible. Simply put, we are improving patient flow and freeing up hospital beds.

Key to the service is working with hospital staff to identify these patients, so that all aids and adaptations are put in place ready for the patient being medically fit for discharge. This helps speed up safe hospital discharge, it frees up beds for new patients, and saves NHS staff time too. We’re quick and agile, flexible, and problem solvers.

On average, we reduce a patient’s stay in hospital by six days. We go to patients’ homes and do a full Healthy Home Assessment, being the eyes and ears of NHS staff on the ground. We identify what needs to be done, and then we do the work. Our service isn’t just about getting patients out of hospital, it’s also about keeping people out of hospital.

Care & Repair make sure the patient is safe for the long term in their home. After the initial work to make sure patients can leave hospital, we work with the patient to make sure they are safe and independent at home. We listen to the patient and their family to work out how they use their home, and make it a warm, safe space that works for them.

We have proven that the service helps reduce readmission rates. In a sea of negative criticism, we can say that there is investment in solutions, and Hospital to a Healthier Home is a service that works.

Judith Paget, Chief Executive of NHS Wales, is quoted in the Nuffield Report: "It is a hugely complex system... that's not something the NHS can do on its own.", and Care & Repair’s Hospital to a Healthier Home service is one such service, here to help. Operating out of 17 Welsh hospitals and a range of community hospitals, it often works alongside NHS staff where the pressures are toughest, providing practical solutions to some of the problems that impact on patient flow.

Given the pressures that we all know are within the NHS system, highlighted not just today but also by A&E waiting times and patient backlogs, it is vital that services like Hospital to a Healthier are valued and sustained by Local Health Boards for the contribution they make to helping NHS Wales achieve a much bigger aim – that patients can receive excellent and timely care across Wales.

Although today’s report makes for hard reading for patients and NHS staff alike, we are proud to be working alongside the NHS in Wales to find solutions for safer discharge of older patients.

Faye Patton

Hospital to a Healthier Home, Project Manager