Intermediate care – a remedy-in-waiting
By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson
Several years ago I visited a privately-run rehabilitation centre in Germany. The clientele was varied – a lot of older people recovering from strokes and hip operations, middle-aged people getting over their bypass surgery and young motorcyclists and skiers with an assortment of fractures, all tended by a small army of specialist physios, OTs and highly trained care workers.
“This works,” Herr Direktor said simply when we had finished the tour.
“We get people back home or back to work very quickly. The intensive rehabilitation we deliver means we maximise the benefit of the hospital treatment they have had, reducing the risk of complications and greatly minimising readmission to hospital.”
A German health service representative on the tour said the State was happy to fund such centres because they had proved their worth both economically and in terms of clinical outcomes.
About 12 years ago, much was being made in this country of ‘intermediate care’ (policyspeak for rehabilitation). Some care home operators thought they’d give it a go, only to find that the then PCGs began commissioning the lowest priced services and the serious players found themselves starved of placements. A recent report from the Department of Health said England needed twice the present level of intermediate care provision.
Given the parlous state of the NHS it is a little surprising that some politician or other hasn’t rekindled the intermediate care flame. Could it be that the NHS, hooked on high-tech intervention and pharmaceutical fixes, refuses to see the solution which a serious commitment to intermediate care offers? Could it be the persisting bogey of the anathema of private provision?
Whatever the outcome of the General Election, it is to be hoped that ministers will start banging some heads together. Health and social care integration remains a dream. A commitment to intermediate care would go a long way towards making it a reality.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.