Due to all the postponed operations, home care is pinching. Patients sometimes cannot leave the hospital immediately because there is no aftercare. They also receive fewer hours of help.
Trade association Actiz reports that there is ‘enormous pressure’ in home care. “Across the whole of the elderly care we see that the care gap is starting to manifest itself; there are more people over 65 in need of help, but the number of healthcare workers is not growing,” explains director Wil van de Laar. Home care organizations must look closely at what a client really needs and what help the family can offer. “We try to inform informal carers in advance that if they have their father or mother operated on, they really have to help with aftercare.”
As far as the care organizations are concerned, coordination with many hospitals can be improved now that catch-up care is starting. “I understand that an orthopedist prefers to perform as many operations in a row as possible, but some of those people need home care. If they cannot get help at home, those patients will keep a hospital bed for longer,” says Van de Laar.
Because patients have to wait longer for an operation, they get more complaints and they need more help at home. In addition, many people’s recovery takes longer, because their condition deteriorated sharply when they were on the waiting list.
Home care organizations are struggling with a staff shortage and higher absenteeism due to illness than before the corona pandemic. In the second quarter of this year, their absenteeism due to illness was 7.4 percent. Normally, that percentage is around 6.2 percent. During peaks, absenteeism was even above 9 percent.
We are dealing with a healthcare crisis. Patients don’t always get the care they need anymore
The consequence of the shortage is that patients sometimes receive fewer hours of care or cannot leave the hospital. Some of the clients also have to wait a long time before a nurse can help with showering and dressing.
People who want to die at home sometimes have to go to a hospice or hospital before their last days of life because there is no guidance. “We are dealing with a stroke of health. Patients no longer always receive the care they need,” notes Bianca Buurman, chairperson of Nurses & Caregivers in the Netherlands (V&VN).
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