Hospital leavers 'lack support'
Published on 29 May 2013 11:30 AM
Many patients experience a lack of support when they are discharged from hospital following a stay in intensive care, a new report claims.
They are often reliant on the care of family members when they return home, according to the study published in the Critical Care journal.
Researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Oxford questioned 293 patients of different ages for the study, all of whom had spent more than two days in intensive care.
The answers revealed that 80% of care was being provided by family members and more than half of families had to make adjustments to their own working lives to offer care.
Almost 3 out of every 4 patients in the study reported experiencing moderate or severe pain at 6 months and 12 months after leaving intensive care.
One in three patients in the survey said they had lost their jobs, retired early, were working part-time, or were on sick leave after six months, with a significant proportion of those who did go back to work reporting a reduced income or working hours.
'Little or no support for people leaving hospital'
Barry Williams, of the Intensive Care Society (ICS) critical care patient liaison committee, has called on the Department of Health and Department for Work & Pensions to work with the ICS in drawing up a policy to address the issues raised in what he says is a credible survey.
'There is often little or no support for these people once discharged from hospital,' he said.
Dr Stephen Brett, chairman of the Intensive Care Foundation and one of the study's researchers, said more coordination is needed in the provision of care and a greater awareness that a person's path to recovery 'often crosses organisational boundaries'.
Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said patients continue to have access to care after they are discharged from hospital.
He said the introduction of personalised care plans and budgets are reflective of the Government's commitment to putting patients in control of their own care.
Pledging to examine the study's findings 'with interest', Dr Poulter added: 'We recognise the invaluable role played by friends and family members in providing care - they make a huge contribution to society and we want to do all we can to support them.
'Under the new Care Bill, we are proposing to give carers the same legal right to support as the people they look after.'
Copyright Press Association 2013