Delays in discharge:  

Delays in hospital discharge leave people feeling stranded. If you are fit and healthy, you should be able to leave the hospital quickly and safely. Caroline Abrahams, Age UK said “Being forced to stay in hospital when you are medically fit to leave is utterly soul-destroying, undermines your chances of making a full recovery, and is an enormous waste of public money too.” However, 20% of ‘blocked beds’ in the NHS is directly attributed to ‘awaiting care package’ at home. Extra funding to councils stopped the rise of bed blocking between 2010 – 2019, but December 2019 saw 148,000 delayed days across England.

The national ambition is to achieve and maintain an average Delayed Transfer of Care (DTOC) figure of 4,000 or fewer delays, with a plan to reduce this further by 2024.  – NHS

Since the 1st September people who needed additional care after being discharged from hospital have been supported by the new £588 million fund. This will provide up to 6 weeks of support, usually at home. Matt Hancock said, “We know for the majority of people the road to recovery can be quicker when they receive care and support in the comfort of their own home.”  

Post-discharge support: 

It is a well-known fact that people over 75 are more than twice as likely to be readmitted if they are not given enough support on discharge. A report from Age UK shows that the elderly people feel uncertainty, a lack of confidence and a lack of support following discharge from hospital. Elderly and vulnerable patients can be nervous about their transition home, concerned that their condition could deteriorate now that they have left the 24-hour care environment of a hospital. A number of these patients will require additional follow up support or monitoring. Without this, there is a higher risk of hospital readmission resulting in further stress to the person and their family. The Royal college of Physicians highlights that approximately 15% of elderly patients are readmitted within 28 days of discharge. The need to decrease this percentage is crucial because of the added risk of COVID-19.  It’s within this context that technology is playing a more essential role in post discharge support, including our own solution Ethel.   

How can Ethel help?  

Ethel is a digital wraparound service that provides support in a person’s home post discharge. Through Ethel, the patient can have more contact points with family and health care professionals including AHPs. Studies show telephone contact with patients ­post-discharge can reduce readmission rates. If telephone contact with patients can reduce readmission rates, imagine what the new generation of technology enabled care solutions can do. The use of video enables the staff member to read body language of the patient and gauge any early deterioration. The daily check-in features enable ease of mind for family and friends. With medication management, vital signs monitoring and wellness surveys, Ethel can provide a proactive approach to post hospital discharge. An average hospital discharge package is 2-3 hours per day, costing on roughly £1400 over the 6 weeks period. Ethel can be used alongside current care to help and support care providers and the end user, helping reduce costs without reducing contact.


To find out more about Ethel, please contact