Home care could reduce hospital stays, study shows

Home care could reduce hospital stays, study shows

There is a clear link between the length of time spent in hospitals by older patients and the supply of home and residential care in their areas.

According to a new research study published by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), improving home care and residential care resources can help to reduce the duration of hospital stays for some patients, freeing up beds in hospitals.

The study, titled An analysis of the effects on Irish hospital care of the supply of care inside and outside the hospital, was completed as part of a project that aims to inform policies, such as Sláintecare when it comes to moving care from acute hospitals to community facilities.

The research examined whether patients aged over 65 in areas with better home care and residential care supply are discharged more quickly from hospital. It found that older patients in areas with more home care and nursing homes tended to have shorter hospitals stays.

The research showed:

  • For home care, a 10% increase in supply per capita would equate to approximately 14,700 fewer inpatient bed days per annum, the equivalent of 40 inpatient beds daily;
  • For residential care, a 10% increase in supply per capita would equate to approximately 19,000 fewer inpatient bed days per annum, the equivalent of 53 inpatient beds daily;
  • For both home and residential care services, increased supply was associated with much larger reductions in hospital stays for patients most likely to benefit from post-discharge care, including patients with stroke, hip fractures or Alzheimer’s/dementia.

The authors of the report wrote that increasing home care and residential care supply is essential to meet the demands of a growing and ageing population and could also reduce some pressures on hospitals.

However, increased hospital capacity will still be required in light of long elective waiting lists, and the highest inpatient bed occupancy rate in the OECD.

One of the report authors, Brendan Walsh, said: “Increasing the supply of home care and nursing home beds can help reduce pressure on hospitals, but it is not a panacea.

Increasing supply of these services as the population grows and ages is imperative. But so too is the continued investment in hospital capacity.”


More in this Section

Man gets partially suspended sentence for twice attacking ex-partner in front of their son at children's hospitalMan gets partially suspended sentence for twice attacking ex-partner in front of their son at children's hospital

'I am free of his disgusting and sick secret,' says victim after his older brother is jailed for decade of sexual abuse and rape'I am free of his disgusting and sick secret,' says victim after his older brother is jailed for decade of sexual abuse and rape

Varadkar: New Brexit deal is final offer from EUVaradkar: New Brexit deal is final offer from EU

'If I wasn't a whistleblower then I'd have gotten a commendation,' Garda tells Disclosures Tribunal'If I wasn't a whistleblower then I'd have gotten a commendation,' Garda tells Disclosures Tribunal


Lifestyle

Mountaintop monasteries, vicious-looking vultures, and a seriously impressive cable car.As Ryanair launches flights to Armenia, here’s why it deserves to be your next holiday destination

Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra played a storming gig at Cork Opera House, writes Des O'Driscoll Live Music Review: Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra

Concerns about people’s ability to access their own money have been growing – here’s what the debate is all about.Are we actually going to end up as a cashless society?

Everything entertainment you need to look out forScene & Heard: Everything entertainment you need to look out for

More From The Irish Examiner