MORE than 70 nursing home beds were available in Cork to help alleviate hospital overcrowding in the first quarter of 2019, according to new figures.
Information surveys carried out by Nursing Homes Ireland revealed that there were around 72 beds available within Cork private and voluntary nursing homes in the first quarter of 2019.
The NHI has said that engagement between hospital management and nursing homes is critical to alleviate overcrowding.
The latest trolley count from the Irish Nurses and Midwives revealed there were 46 patients waiting on trolleys and in wards for a bed at Cork University Hospital (CUH) on Tuesday, along with 20 at the Mercy University Hospital.
The NHI stated hospitals cannot operate in silo and must utilise specialist healthcare within the community that can lead in alleviating pressures within hospitals.
The organisation added that more than 1,000 beds are consistently available in nursing homes across the country to alleviate overcrowding.
Chief Executive Officer of the NHI, Tadhg Daly said that the HSE are consistently reporting that two-thirds of hospital patients awaiting discharge require long term nursing care.
“At any given time, there are approximately 500 people in our hospitals awaiting discharge,” he added.
“Nursing homes are specialist healthcare settings within our communities that fulfil an essential role in meeting people's rehab, respite and long-term healthcare needs.
“Nurses and carers are employed within to deliver person-centred, specialist healthcare,” said Mr Daly.
The personnel responsible for the discharge of patients in our acute hospitals must be in continuous contact with local nursing homes with a view to facilitating the timely transfer of patients back into the community to continue their healthcare recovery.
He said it is important that patients nearing discharge are supported in having their recovery facilitated in the community.
Almost 50 private and voluntary nursing homes are operating in Cork with the total number of beds registered being 2,687.
Cork University Hospital has witnessed severe overcrowding at times since the beginning of the year.
A status black escalation was issued at CUH last Monday which means the hospital was at maximum capacity and deemed unsafe to admit further patients.
Last Monday night saw up to eight ambulances lined up outside the hospital, with one waiting more than four hours to release a patient into the hospital’s care.
One patient who was in the Emergency Department last week described it as “mayhem.” CUH recently said it was continually reviewing patient flow within the hospital in the hope of alleviating pressure on the Emergency Department.