The following reply has been made in response to a news story regarding The Rapid Discharge to Assess Service from hospitals to care homes.
A spokesperson for Trafford Council said: “It is completely inaccurate to say care homes are being pressurised into taking people with coronavirus. We have acted according to national guidance through the pandemic and have set up strict rules to ensure the safety of residents and staff at our care homes.
“Throughout the discharge process, the health and wellbeing of the person being discharged from hospital is of fundamental importance. Right from the start of the pandemic, we insisted that all patients were tested for coronavirus before they were discharged, before the requirements to test people before discharge nationally were brought in. We have only asked homes to accept those patients with a negative test.
“We have a comprehensive process in place whereby we screen people’s needs to ensure that they are safe for discharge from hospital before we accept the referrals. We then match those referrals with suitable homes, and discuss with those homes. It is only when agreement is reached that the person is transferred to the care home. Our care homes have the ultimate right of refusal if they believe that they cannot meet the needs of anyone being discharged to the home.
“We have had this process in place since the beginning of the pandemic and it has worked really well for our very vulnerable residents.
“The discharge to assess service is an example of hospital, Council, CCG and care home teams working together for the good of the patient to ensure they receive the best possible health and social care in the most appropriate setting.
“We appreciate that there is a quick turnaround but our contracts reflect the national requirements to ensure people are discharged quickly. It’s important to remember the incredible pressures hospitals were under during lockdown over the availability of hospital beds. Our co-ordinated approach to discharge has enabled people to continue their recovery in a place that best suits that needs, while also enabling seriously ill people to be admitted to hospital and receive life-saving care.
“Over the last six months, there has been considerable distress for our families and residents as many of them have had extremely limited or no contact with their loved ones. However, our care homes operate very rigorous processes to keep people safe. All of our care homes have received intensive training on infection control and prevention and have access to expert advice if required. We have also been working in partnership with them to ensure they have access to supplies of appropriate PPE stock.
“The health and wellbeing of all residents in our care homes is extremely important to us. We would not do anything that puts the health of residents or staff at risk, which is why we have worked in partnership with care homes to put a safe system in place that cares for the needs of the discharged patient, while minimising the risk to others.
“Our care homes do an amazing job – especially during this coronavirus epidemic – and the staff are unsung heroes of this time. We recognise that the circumstances that our homes are operating in are extremely difficult and they continue to provide a valued service for our most vulnerable residents."
Posted on Friday 18th September 2020