independent

Sunday 19 August 2018

'Bed-blockers' is such a cruel word

The term 'bed-blockers' is a cruel one which should not be used to describe people who are waiting to be discharged from hospital.

That's according to the organiser of last Thursday's Open Day Sheila Kiely, who is herself a Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in Paediatrics.

"There's a lot on TV and radio at the moment about waiting lists but also trolleys and bed-blocking.

"It's a terribly cruel term. For those of us working in the hospital that's an unfair term because a lot of people aren't able to go home. They're not strong enough because they haven't had enough physio.

"They're waiting for specialist shoes, because they can't walk, or they're waiting for new glasses because they can't see and that was the reason they why they fell in the first place," said Sheila.

"Medically we can't send them home until they're well enough," she said.

Many patients are still living in shockingly basic homes, with usually the ambulance driver the only person aware of their living conditions.

"They alert the social worker that there's no way that that patient can go back to the conditions that they found them in.

It's the duty of the social workers then to make sure patients are accommodated some safe and warm.

"Some people still live in houses with outdoor toilets and no running water and no electricity," said Sheila.

"Particularly bachelors who have inherited an old farm or farmhouse. Because they live on their own, there's no impetus to change anything and so they're quite happy to live that way but for us socially that's not acceptable to send somebody home to that in 2018, to a home with no running water, no indoor plumbing.

"That's usually the reason they fell in the first place, they fell going out to the toilet, outdoors, in the dark," she said.

"People need to realise there is a value in staying here until you are ready and strong enough to go home," she added.

It was the first ever such Open Day and Sheila believes it will help build public trust.

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