Many people suffering severe mental health conditions are resident in expensive hospital mental health units for far longer than necessary. Delayed Transfer of Care (DTOC) can result in patients residing for up to 6 months longer than they should. This extended stay can result in a decline in vital life skills and, therefore, a diminished capacity to live independently.
When patients are eventually discharged from hospital, in order to successfully continue their recovery and be able to integrate into the community, continued intensive 24-hour support is often required. Without this essential support, many patients struggle and end up back in hospital to start the cycle all over again.
The nature and necessarily short-term focus of hospital treatment can be detrimental in the longer term. However, we can demonstrate how specialised 24-hour support in a community setting can break this cycle and is far more effective for both treatment and recovery than the support available as a hospital inpatient.
Why the delay?
For a patient to be discharged, release must be agreed by all relevant professional groups involved in the patient’s care and treatment. This multidisciplinary team must determine the patient is safe to transfer and that treatment is either complete, or can be continued at home, or in a setting other than hospital. The patient must also be evaluated to determine their suitability for release, and that the setting they are being transferred to is safe and without risk of abuse or neglect.
Inevitably, with multiple stakeholders juggling these complex issues, it can take a long time for patients to be assessed or for decisions to be reached about when they can be released. There is often the added complication of an unsuitable or non-existent home environment making it difficult to return the patient back to the community. Many people with mental health problems struggle to find high-quality housing and maintain their tenancy.
DTOC can ultimately lead to needlessly long stays in hospitals and elicit feelings of distress in both patients and their families. Longer stays in hospital can have a significant negative impact on an individual’s mental health; perversely compromising the next step of the recovery journey. Being held in a hospital mental health unit makes it exceedingly difficult for individuals to access the support they need for a successful recovery and a return to independent living.
The wider economic, operational, and clinical impact of DTOC can be felt by the NHS; from the reduced number of beds available for new admissions to the knock-on effect on A&E and planned procedure waiting times. A financial burden is also felt by UK taxpayers.
24-hour support for effective transitions to independent living
What marks out our 24-hour facilities as an excellent alternative to hospital is the focus on building the skills, motivation, confidence, self-esteem, and resilience necessary in each of our clients to successfully transition to independent living.
Clients are given a front door key. They prepare their own meals and are responsible for their own personal care. We support them to manage their medication and engage in mental health treatment programmes. We help them identify and apply for move-on accommodation, or to establish and successfully maintain a tenancy. We also help them develop or regain vital life skills such as cooking, shopping, household tasks, managing their personal finances and accessing education, training, volunteering, or employment opportunities.
Crucially, if a client relapses, our 24-support means they recover faster without going back to a secure facility. There are two members of staff present during the day, and one at night, providing continuous 24-hour support.
So, having established that there are more effective alternatives to hospital, let’s talk about costs. It costs £182,500 per client per year for secure hospital treatment. It costs £46,800 per client per year for our 24 hour support.
We have a proven track record of successfully moving clients on after 2 years, either to medium support or independent living, so they can continue their recovery. We have a long-term vision for each of our clients which is uniquely focused on recovery and living a full, active, and independent life in their local community. Our cost effective 24-hour support can provide an invaluable bridge between inpatient mental health services and independent living.
Please help us raise awareness about this by sharing this post with your network. For more information about our 24-hour support service or any of our community mental health services, please visit our website, or contact us. Thank you for your support.