Delayed transfers of care (previously referred to as delayed discharges) occur when patients have been deemed clinically fit for discharge from an acute bed but their discharge is delayed because they are waiting for some form of ongoing support or care following their discharge. There are many reasons for this, such as a patient undertaking the application process for NHSS, awaiting assessment for a home support package, homelessness, ward of court application, and the availability of resources.
When possible, the HSE will use transitional care to accommodate the patient during the period between discharge and the finalisation of new care arrangements, but there can often be a delay, especially in cases where the patient and family are coming to terms with the new circumstances.
This year, services are being stretched more than ever, with demand consistently outstripping supply, and we have seen an increase the number of delayed transfers of care. While the HSE maximises the use of resources, prioritising those requiring discharge from acute hospitals, there is a growing demand for egress support. In response, and in the context of planning and preparing for the challenges of the winter period, the Department and the HSE have been considering a comprehensive approach to the current the high-level of DTOCs. However, recognising the urgency of the situation, approval was provided to the HSE to begin actions immediately to the value of €5m in 2019. As part of these measures the HSE released a significant number of funding approvals within NHSS in September, and provided additional home care and transitional care beds.
With regard to the Deputy's specific question, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly with the requested information.