Research Article

Blocked beds.

Br Med J 1977; 1 doi: (Published 28 May 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;1:1395
  1. F W Murphy


    In a cross-sectional survey of 325 surgical and orthopaedic beds 43 (16%) of the 265 occupied beds were filled by patients who had no medical need to be in an acute ward. They had been in hospital for a median time of 40 weeks up to the survey date. Of the 43 patients, 11 were awaiting transfer to a geriatric ward; 13 to community residential care; and seven to their homes. There was no plan for discharge or transfer for the remaining 12 (28%). Those "at risk" of becoming long-stay patients for social reasons on these wards were women, over 75, living alone or with one relative, who had been admitted to hospital in emergency with a fractured femur, head injury, or other trauma. Action necessary to reduce the number of social long-stay patients includes (a) changing attitudes to the solving of social case problems; (b) revising procedures of assessment and planning of future care; (c) improving teamwork and record keeping within the hospital and the community services; (d) providing a better balance of acute, medium and long-stay hospital beds; and (e) putting more resources into rehabilitation.