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Is it acceptable to refer to patients as bed blockers?

  • Comments (19)

Is it acceptable to refer to patients as bed blockers? What do you think?

EXPERT COMMENT

No, we shouldn’t because it stigmatises the older person.

It sends the message that the older person has no right to remain in their bed and that the individual is at fault.

Often the reason a person remains in a hospital bed when ‘medically fit’ is because of deficiencies in discharge planning or in care services.

It seems unjust that these deficiencies can affect perceptions of an older person’s value and entitlement to NHS services.

Linda is Consultant nurse, Ealing Hospital Trust.

 

  • Comments (19)

Readers' comments (19)

  • Jon Harvey

    In answer - absolutely not. It is a classic case of victim blaming - rather than looking at the systemic reasons why the person may have to remain in a hospital bed for the time being.

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  • Anonymous

    No, and it is nothing to do with stigmatising older people. Patients are PEOPLE, pure and simple. The issue is for a person awaiting suitable alternative accommodation and/or services. It is the system and inadequate resources at fault, not the individual.

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  • NO!
    Any member of staff referring to any patient as a bed blocker should be disciplined - whether that be a board level executive, clinical staff or managers. The fact that this offensive term is still widely used throughout the NHS shows how far we have still got to go in terms of real dignity and respect for all patients and their carers.
    HR Directors, Trade Unions, Professional Bodies, Commissioners, Chief Executives and Chairmen need to lead by example and work together with patient groups to flush out this wholly unacceptable terminology once and for all. Using the disciplinary process as necessary.
    I totally agree with the above two posts i.e its the system that is at fault, not the poor victim stuck within it!

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  • Anonymous

    Actually using the term is describing the patients status within in the care system NOT the patient. I am sure that almost all care staff would treat the patient with the same package of care as any other patient. Instead of going off on a Crusade against someone using an unfashionable phrase, shouldn't we be directing our energies into amending the situation that led to that situation?

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  • Anonymous

    the problem is that is a mountain of paperwork to be filled out before any patient can be assessed,sometimes 50 pages, and deemed acceptable for continuing care and there are not enough discharge planners within the hospital settings. many patients that come into hospital require more care on discharge.it is not the patients problem that they are taking up a bed and no longer require nursing care. i had a patient who was on the ward for 1 year because of sorting out paperwork and finances

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  • Anonymous

    cases like the above appear to demonstrate gross mismanagement of patient care which is counter to the tenets of the healthcare professions, detrimental to patients' quality of life and well being and show a total absence of consideration for any individual and their best interests, a contravention of human rights and a complete lack of respect and compassion for any human being. Such a hospitalisation would appear to equate to a prison sentence and for innocent and vulnerable human beings of which those responsible for the management of the institutions instigating this treatment could also fall victim at any stage in their lives and then be classed as bed blockers in the same stereotypical and discriminatory manner.

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  • No it is not! The bed blockers are the poor managers who do not allocate sufficient staff to the tasks of form-filling to enable discharge to a suitable care environment, and to doctors who cannot be bothered to institute aftercare. The elderly are victims of these hightly inefficient systems. They cannot wait to be discharged and to get back to some sort of normal life, not the institutionallisation of hospital care.

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  • Little One

    I agree with many of the comments posted here, and think it is unacceptable to call patients 'bed blockers'. I believe that it reinforces a negative view of elderly patients, that because their discharges are not straight forward and easy they are blocking spaces for people who 'really need' the bed, which I do think then influences the way that they are viewed and treated on a ward, I've seen it happen. I think it is just as bad to call people 'frequent fliers'.

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  • Anonymous

    it is discriminatory and disrespectful to stereotype and label anybody whether it is the elderly, other patients, the relatives or the hospital staff caring for them. Each and every human being is an individual and should be respected as such. Not many patients choose to go to hospital but there needs should be adequately met and they should be treated with respect and not punished. It seems that this is more of a management and organisational failure where there is lack of understanding and sensitivity for the services they are supposed to provide more than one of professional health personnel.

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  • Anonymous

    Delayed discharges - you have to work on a medical ward to understand the amount of paperwork that is in place mostlly due to CHC screening. After the first document is completed (this can take up to an hour) if the patient screens in then another round of paperwork needs to be given to the various members of the MDT team to complete once they are gathered together and faxed back a meeting is then organised. The nurse then has to attend the meeting taking 1 - 2 hours aprox, from that meeting the patients discharge can be continued still taking days to weeks. This is not the patients fault the system needs to be made easier for all concerned. As a nurse I feel like a social worker I am sure my time could be better spent caring for that patient rather than making phone calls and completing endless forms. Our patients are never looked on as bed blockers to ward staff but I cannot speak for bed managers.

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