Hospitals need to ensure that elderly patients are properly assessed for equipment such as mobility aids before they are discharged in order to prevent readmission soon after leaving.
That’s according to a new report by the British Red Cross, which has put forward recommendations to stop what it called an ‘endless cycle’ of avoidable hospital admissions among vulnerable patients.
The study proposes introducing automatic home assessments and other simple interventions for elderly and vulnerable people who are often admitted to hospital.
It claims that currently these people are being sent home without the right support, or to unsuitable or unsafe conditions at home and are then more likely to end up back in hospital.
The group’s figures show that emergency hospital admissions have risen by 22.8% in the last five years and people being readmitted within 48 hours now accounts for one in five of all emergency readmissions.
Automatic home assessments should be triggered for people who have come in and out of hospital several times within a few months, advises the report. The British Red Cross says it encounters people who have come in and out of hospital with nobody questioning why their needs have spiralled into something much more complex.
Other key recommendations include offering transport home from hospital to all those who live alone or who are leaving by themselves and have poor mobility. The report also says that people who live alone, have poor mobility and have been in and out of hospital due to falls should automatically have their home assessed for falls hazards before they are discharged.