Intermediate care provision must double to meet demand, new audit reveals
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Intermediate care services for frail older people must double in capacity to meet increased demand due to an ageing population. The 2014 National Audit of Intermediate Care (NAIC) shows that, in spite of similar findings in 2012 and 2013, there has still been no national increase in funding for intermediate care services, which provide an important link between GPs, social care and hospitals.
Despite this, the NAIC audit shows that outcomes for intermediate care patients are extremely positive, and continuing to improve. The vast majority of people experienced a positive outcome from their care; 92% of service users in home based care and 94% in bed based care maintained or improved their level of functioning across a range of everyday activities.
The NAIC figures also show that further resources are urgently needed: waiting times for crisis response services have increased from an average of 7.3 hours to 8.9 hours, and the average wait between referral and assessment is now either 6 days for home based care, or five days for re-ablement services.
Professor John Young, national clinical director for integration and the frail elderly, Department of Health, said that, given the high proportion of service users waiting in hospital beds, the waiting times represented a lost opportunity for efficiency gains in secondary care.
“Some solutions can be hidden in plain sight,” said Prof Young
“Those of us closely connected with intermediate care will certainly see these services as an important part of the solution for our overheated health and social care system.”