A local woman has claimed her elderly relative has been waiting weeks to be discharged from hospital due to no domiciliary care packages available.

In just over two years, patients waiting to be discharged from the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) due to no domiciliary care packages available have risen from three in April 2017 to 64 in August 2019. A domiciliary care package is where care is provided for a person in their own home.

In the Western Health and Social Care Trust’s Performance Management Report published on October 3, 2019, ‘no domiciliary package available’ was recorded as one of the top five reasons for delay of complex discharges resulting in patients waiting over 48 hours to be discharged.

Also featured in the list of top five reasons were ‘no suitable step down bed available’, ‘care planning’, ‘no nursing home bed available’ and ‘other complex delay reason’. All of the top five reasons have seen an increase in numbers of patients waiting over 48 hours to be discharged from April 2017 to August 2019 but ‘no domiciliary package available’ has by far the most staggering increase from three patients to 64. However ‘hospital assessment’ has been removed from the list since April 2017.

A woman whose elderly relative is a patient in SWAH due to no domiciliary package available has aired her frustration to The Impartial Reporter.

Wishing for her identity and her elderly relative’s to remain anonymous, the member of the public said: “The elderly person was in hospital for health reasons and as the period went on, their health has improved, obviously elderly people don’t get fully 100 per cent better but they are ready for home and the biggest issue is the lack of carers to get them home.”

She continued: “In order to get them home you have to have a particular amount of carers in place at particular times of day and apparently they are saying that this isn’t available.”

“It’s just so difficult because when somebody is in hospital and they are starting to pick up, they just want to be at home. If you took it on yourself you would end up with no care so you can’t do that,” the woman added.

Noting that their elderly relative is still in hospital “a couple of weeks” after they were told by medical staff that they were healthy enough to go home, the woman has called the provision of a domiciliary package a “long-drawn out thing”.

“Waiting to get somebody this care is very frustrating and it’s very difficult for the elderly person to understand why they are still in hospital when they are starting to feel better,” she told The Impartial Reporter this week.