Care home finder tool to reduce lengthy hospital stays

The NHS is launching a new portal to be used between the NHS and local councils to allow health and social care staff to see which local care homes have vacancies. The new portal hopes to save valuable time and prevent hours of phoning individual care homes to check the number of vacancies available. This means that people should be able to access the right care as quickly as possible.

The new scheme will hopefully allow patients to transition from a hospital to a care home sooner, as it becomes easier to find the right placement. The new technology will be available to councils, hospitals and care homes across the country as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Currently, over 250,000 bed days in NHS England are taken up by patients who are medically fit enough to be discharged but are struggling with delays of finding the appropriate care home for their recovery. This new scheme, called the Capacity Tracker, should hopefully reduce the number of lost bed days by 20%. As it becomes more widely available, it hopes to minimise lost bed days even further.

The Capacity Tracker is available on any device and takes just 30 seconds to update information and details about available beds. This makes it easier for healthcare staff to find the ideal service for the patient, such as checking for those who can assist with a learning disability or dementia.

Over 6,250 care homes have already signed up to the Capacity Tracker after it was piloted in three regions across England last year. Now, more care homes are being encouraged to sign up to help with the better sharing of information between hospital staff and care homes.

Chief Nursing Officer For England explains; “By using this technology to work together more closely, hospitals, local authorities and care homes can ensure that people get the right care in the right place at the right time, and aren’t left waiting in hospital unnecessarily. Working with our local government, hospitals and community services as well as patients and their families has been essential to developing this new approach and will be key to rolling it out everywhere.”

The Adult Social Care Transformation Programme at Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership Programme Director adds; “The Capacity Tracker was first introduced to Greater Manchester in 2017. We are pleased with the uptake it has had with care homes and health and social care teams across our localities now having quicker and better access to vacancy information. We have been impressed with the speed at which the Capacity Tracker support team have been able to onboard care homes over a very short space of time.”

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