New tool to free up beds in hospital

A new digital portal is being introduced to help health and council staff check vacancies in local care homes.

By David Sedgwick
Friday, 03 May, 2019, 09:41
Brought to you by the News Guardian.

The Capacity Tracker is being used by the NHS and councils in the North East to help staff save time phoning around care homes to check availability.

People who need a care home placement will be supported to get out of hospital sooner due to the technology.

In 2018, around 250,000 hospital bed days in England were taken up by people medically fit enough to be discharged, but who faced delays in finding an appropriate care home.

So far, 2,239 care homes in the North of England have signed up to the system, providing information on more than 85,000 care home beds.

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England said: “One of the central ambitions of the NHS Long-term Plan is to better support people to age well, and that means joining up different services locally to better meet people’s needs.

“By using this technology to work together more closely, hospitals, local authorities and care homes can ensure that people get the right care in the right place at the right time, and aren’t left waiting in hospital unnecessarily.

“Working with our local government, hospitals and community services, as well as patients and their families, has been essential to developing this new approach.”

Across the NHS, Integrated Care Systems (ICS) and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships are seeing the NHS and local government work more closely to join up care and support across general practices, community services, hospitals, councils, voluntary and community organisations and charities.

As well as offering improved care for patients and care home residents, the new initiative links health and social care professionals and reduces wasted time and resources.

The Capacity Tracker provides a ‘shop window’ for care homes to share their vacancies, as well as other information about the care home, to enable an informed choice to be made.

It can be accessed on any device and improves efficiency of discharge teams because they do not need to make numerous phone calls to homes.

If care homes need help, a team of dedicated people provides telephone support for registration and uploading information.