Richmond residents to be offered £50 to provide rooms for discharged hospital patients

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Richmond residents could seen be paid £50 a night for providing a room for a patient being discharged from hospital.

Because of a shortage of care home beds, North Yorkshire County Council is looking at alternative options for respite opportunities for adults with assessed care needs who leave hospital.

Leading North Yorkshire County Council officers and councillors will consider expanding the Care Rooms project, which was launched last year in Selby and York, to trial it across areas of the county which lack sufficient care
provision to enable people to be discharged from hospital into a safe and local care setting.

The scheme is aimed at anyone with a spare room and time to give an extra hand to those needing support but “minimal care needs” before moving back into their own home after surgery or a fall.

The impacts of Brexit, the Covid pandemic and the cost of living crisis on staffing levels in the care sector have been particularly keenly felt in rural and coastal areas of the county.

In the summer the authority reported it was seeing more people staying in hospital longer than they need to owing to due to the lack of available places to discharge patients who are not ready to be at home by themselves.

The authority says while efforts to boost recruitment into adult social care has continued at pace with co-ordinated campaigns, vacancies remain in many areas that are adding pressure to both its services and the wider care market.

In addition, this year has seen further closures of care homes, some of which are due to significant reliance on costly agency staffing.

The council says the scheme will also be introduced where is such a lack of respite provision that those needing looking after would need to travel outside of their local area.

Areas to be included in the pilot include Richmond, south Hambleton, Ryedale, Whitby and Scarborough.

An officers’ report to an adult services meeting of the authority states Care Rooms “offers a unique and innovative approach to addressing ongoing pressures in the care market by harnessing the strengths, assets and resources that exist within local communities”.

It states: “The pilot would support short breaks for struggling carers, and develop additional options and approaches to facilitate hospital discharge.”

The council’s executive member for adult services and health, Councillor Michael Harrison, said the authority was trying everything it can to improve the hospital discharge situation.

He said the trial in the Selby area over the last year had showed promise and the council would check the hosts’ living environment was suitable.

Coun Harrison said: “It’s a great way for people to feel that they are giving something back to the community.

“We are really appreciative of people who would be willing to open up their homes to people, they will get their costs covered, it’s providing a really good service for people being discharged from hospital and it’s freeing up a hospital bed.

“If we find this works there’s no reason why this can not be rolled out in all areas.”