The Government needs to explain why it’s allowing DHBs to discharge our elderly people from hospital in the middle of the night, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

In January alone, 156 patients aged 80 years and older were discharged from hospital between 1 am and 8 am in the morning. Every DHB discharged at least one elderly person during this time, with Waitemata DHB discharging an outstanding 23 people.

Dr Reti says this is an unacceptable practice.

“While there may be some people who are self-discharging to other facilities, there is nothing safe about discharging people over 80 in the very early morning.

“Transitions of care between hospital and the community are often complex and fraught with danger but especially so for older people where we know confusion can be increased at night, especially if social networks aren’t active and they are in an unfamiliar environment.

“It’s clear there are some management issues surrounding discharge delays and bed planning with some people bumped out to free up beds.

“These figures don’t include the number of elderly patients who present at an Emergency Department between these hours and are then sent away so there could be even more people impacted.

“I was made aware of a situation in my electorate where a family was horrified their kuia who went to ED at 1am was then sent home a couple of hours later to a community that was not prepared.

“Our elderly community deserves better support and care than this.

“I can’t think of one good reason to be discharging a person over 80 from hospital in the early morning.

“The Government needs to urgently explain the circumstances around these figures and reassure our elderly community that they won’t be left out in the cold in the middle of the night to free up a bed for someone else.”

Below Is a Table Outlining the Number of People Aged 80 and Older Who Have Been Discharged between 1 Am and 7.59 Am.

A table outlining the number of people aged 80 and older who have been discharged between 1am and 7.59am. Credit: National Party. The BFD.

**Please note this excludes those patients who passed away in hospital or who were discharged/transferred to another service or facility.

These numbers also exclude patients who present at an Emergency Department between these hours and were not admitted to hospital.

This data was extracted from National Minimum Dataset on 30 March 2021 and includes elective, arranged and acute admissions, and casemix Included events only. Data is by DHB of Service.

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Dr Shane Reti – DHBs Discharging Elderly in the Middle of the Night
Press Release

Press Release

This article is a press release that has been published in full and un-edited by The BFD.