NHS patients could recover in people’s homes

26 Oct

The three-month trial would involve between five and 10 local residents hosting 30 willing and eligible patients from Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Essex.

CareRooms is recruiting “hosts” in Essex who could earn up to £50 a night or £1,000 a month housing recuperating patients.

Hosts do not need any previous care experience but would need to pass security checks before they are allowed to join the scheme.

The company says it will transform spare rooms and annexes with a private bathroom into “secure care spaces for patients who are waiting to be discharged”.

The hosts would need to supply drinks and heat up three microwave meals for their patients each day but they would be offered “host protection”, training and access to a helpline.

A nurse tends to recovering patients on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital on March 16, 2010 in Birmingham, England
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The company behind the trial says hosts would be carefully vetted

The company’s website says: “Our hospitals are becoming increasingly full with patients who have nowhere to go.

“Your spare room and bathroom can be safely converted to allow patients to be discharged for a maximum of two weeks, for remote carers to look after them and for minimal impact and risk to your daily life.”

Last year, 2.2 million hospital bed days in England were lost due to these delayed transfers of care and Age UK says more and more elderly patients are being “marooned” in hospital beds, despite being fit to leave.

Dr Harry Thirkettle, co-founder and chief medical officer for the website, said: “There is good evidence out there about the effects of long-term hospitalisation on people – they lose muscle strength and mass, it impairs cognition.

“We hope that by allowing people to be discharged to a home-like environment quicker, that would give massive benefits for patients.”

However, campaign group Save Southend A&E told the Health Service Journal: “We are shocked that an NHS trust is endorsing such a company.

“Offering beds in private residential homes opens a huge can of worms for safeguarding, governance and possible financial and emotional abuse of people at their most vulnerable time.”

Dr Thirkettle said hosts would face a “really vigorous” vetting process, with detailed interviews, having to provide references and the requirement for every adult at the property to pass a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

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