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By Debbie le Quesne

Intermediate care – please light the touch paper

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Caring Times Editor Geoff Hodgson recently blogged about the value of intermediate care – an election firework, I suspect, that’s not yet seen a box of matches.

He writes: “Several years ago I visited a privately-run rehabilitation centre in Germany. The clientele was varied – a lot of older people recovering from strokes and hip operations, middle-aged people getting over their bypass surgery and young motorcyclists and skiers with an assortment of fractures, all tended by a small army of specialist physios, OTs and highly trained care workers.”

He was left in no doubt that this model works, one official telling him: “We get people back home or back to work very quickly.

“The intensive rehabilitation we deliver means we maximise the benefit of the hospital treatment they have had, reducing the risk of complications and greatly minimising readmission to hospital.”

This is a model that, according to Geoff’s German health service people, wins financial support from the state because it had proved its worth both economically and in terms of clinical outcomes. Sensible!

I recall, like Geoff, that a decade or so ago ‘intermediate care’ was a buzzword. It seems to be on the back burner now, though any politician with an eye to getting publicity may want to resurrect the concept. As Geoff points out “whatever the outcome of the General Election, it is to be hoped that ministers will start banging some heads together. Health and social care integration remains a dream. A commitment to intermediate care would go a long way towards making it a reality.” Well said.

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