The assessment hiatus – a shared shame
By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson
I’m keen to hear what progress is being made with the ‘Manchester Project’ – you know, the one where health commissioners and their counterparts in social services are going to provide a ‘seamless’ service rather than holding aloof, regarding each other with hostile suspicion like two cats in a cage.
Because that appears to be still the case in many parts of the country. I was talking to a healthcare professional a couple of weeks ago and I asked her what more could be done to reduce the delayed discharge of elderly people from hospital. She raised her hands in a helpless gesture.
“If social services would stop insisting on Continuing Healthcare Assessments being carried out, many older people would be back in the community, or in social care settings, six weeks earlier than they are now,” she said.
Six weeks can be a significant chunk out of an older person’s remaining days, and represents a significant savings to social services. A CHC assessment usually takes well over a month, in part because health professionals need the time to build an unassailable case why an individual should not be in receipt of CHC funding and partly because the assessment panel meets only infrequently.
Meanwhile the older person concerned languishes in a community hospital bed until the assessment is made. Then there is further delay while social services dithers about trying to find the cheapest social care package which will go some way to meeting the person’s needs. How much longer are frail older people to be victimised in this way by cynical, self interested systems whose first concern is to protect their own budgets?
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.