Last year, in the middle of the maelstrom we call winter, half seriously, I suggested if Trust were in such extremis over delayed transfers of care, they might consider taking over their nearest Premier Inn and use it as step-down care.
Clean linen, fresh cooking, comfy rooms, a telly and a lounge to get together. All for fifty seven quid a night. What's not to like!
Staffed by a matron and healthcare assistants... tell me it can't be done, tell me why not.
Don't bother telling me, I've still got the abuse from last year...
Now it looks like my idea is exactly that... last year's. We've moved on to NHS-AirBnB!
Discharged patients will be lodged in the homes of 'hosts' who, for fifty quid a night, will do the conversation, the drinks and the microwaved meals.
There are adaptations installed if required and a tele-med link.
What's not to like?
Well quite a lot. There are safeguarding and exploitation issues. Safety and malevolent influences. Training... you can make your own list. Oh, and as the hosts are 'hosts' and not carers the CQC will be banjaxed.
However, if it is possible to overcome safeguarding and referencing for foster parents, can we do the same thing for CareRooms?
We don't bat an eyelid if a person is discharged into the tender care of a relative with no training.
As uncomfortable as this feels, it can be done and I think might be a damned sight better than being discharged to a lonely flat with a care assistant coming in for 15 minutes and throwing a shepherd's pie into the microwave.
In a warm and friendly home with company, conversation and a cure for loneliness. A cuppa when needed and probably a shared mealtime and a chat about what's on the telly... what's not to like?
This is not easy, it carries a risk but so does a poorly trained care assistant whose first language isn't English and six more people to see before bed-time.
The real issue is not if CareRooms can be made to work safely. The real issue is why are we even contemplating this?
You know the reason. Social care is on it's knees, the NHS stuffed to the gunnels, regulators lining up, ready to give every one a kicking and a government transfixed by cutting the deficit and fighting off the backbench-Brexit-brigade.
Austerity is the mother of innovation and here is an innovative solution driven by the mother of all austerity.
If you don't like it, don't complain to NHSE, don't bother NHSI, don't get on the Trust's back, don't write to me... tell your MP.
Ask them if they are OK with this.
If they don't like it, if they don't think this is where discharged patients belong, ask them what they are going to do to get health and care funding back to where it belongs.
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