New app may help prevent bed blocking in Shropshire
Problems of patients being stuck in hospital beds thanks to delays in the social care system could be a thing of the past in Shropshire, thanks to a ground-breaking new app.
The app, now integrated with systems at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford's Princess Royal Hospital, speeds up the process of discharging patients if they need ongoing care, effectively stopping ‘bed blocking’ – where the person no longer medically needs to be in hospital but care arrangements are not in place to allow them to leave.
Previously, each individual care company in the county had to be called to find out if they had any beds available but the new Shropshire Partners in Care (SPIC) app, developed by Shrewsbury-based Six Ticks, now provides hospital staff with live updates from residential homes across the county, significantly speeding up the process.
Earlier this month it was revealed nine beds a day are occupied by patients who no longer need to be in hospital at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (Sath).
Figures from NHS England, which were for February, showed patients at PRH and RSH spent 238 days waiting to be discharged or transferred to a different care facility – equivalent to more than seven months.
Hospital bosses said the winter period had seen a significant rise in demand for emergency care in its hospitals.
They said they had worked very hard to reduce the level of patients remaining in hospital once they are medically fit, and Sath now ranks in the top three in England for reducing longer lengths of stay.
Delays can be caused by problems within the NHS, like waiting for a bed to open up in a rehabilitation centre or mental health hospital, or problems with social care, such as delays in setting up community care or special equipment at home.
There are a total of 240 organisations involved in SPIC, a not-for-profit organisation which brings together all elements of the care sector within Shropshire – all of whom have access to the app.
Six Ticks sales director Steff Henson said: “The app will provide a vital new resource for hospitals and social work teams across Shropshire, helping them to quickly find available beds for their patients, saving time, freeing up beds and helping patients to move on to suitable accommodation quickly.
“We are very proud to have been involved in this project which could revolutionise leaving hospital for people who need ongoing care.”
Nicky Jacques, chief officer for Shropshire Partners in Care, added the app had been designed to make the process of providing bed availability data to hospitals and social workers as easy as possible.
Two clicks enable users to provide their real-time bed availability and anyone, including social workers, could have the app on their phone to simplify the whole process.
She said: “Not only do we believe that this app has the potential to positively impact on delayed transfers from hospitals, but also to remove the hurdles and challenges of keeping your bed availability information up to date.”
Search ‘Shropshire Partners in Care’ to find the app on Google Play or the App Store.