‘Day care could take the strain’

Ivy House Dave Centre: Stephen Lloyd MP joins members and staff in a game of Scrabble
Ivy House Dave Centre: Stephen Lloyd MP joins members and staff in a game of Scrabble

THE OWNER of a struggling care centre for Alzheimer’s sufferers says the private sector could cut the number of ‘bed blockers’ in hospitals.

Graeme Davies, managing director of Ivy House Day Care Centre, in Hartfield Road, claims some dementia sufferers end up in hospital beds for want of a better alternative.

But he says the state’s hands are tied when it comes to moving patients on.

State-funded medical services such as the NHS refer patients to private companies if they have a proven track record of good partnership work.

Mr Davies said, “We should step into the breach but it’s very difficult because the institutions involved aren’t allowed to recommend private companies.

“There is no facility to direct these people to day care centres which is, in my mind, the only means of providing care and keeping people out of hospital beds. It’s too expensive to send someone around to their house all day long.”

A spokesperson from the Eastbourne District General Hospital said the waiting list for hospital beds is not necessarily linked to failings in provision of adult social care.

Currently all 459 beds for patients with acute illnesses are in use at the DGH and there are roughly 13 people waiting for a bed.

They said, “It’s not that people are there just because of adult social care services, it’s more broad than that. It’s not just elderly people who cannot go home because it’s not properly prepared for them, there are loads of factors involved.”

Carol McHale, of the Alzheimer’s Society, in Firle Road, said, “There is always a need for more services and good-quality services.

“We provide a limited amount of services and sometimes it seems there is not enough around and there are gaps needing to be filled.”

Mr Davies also argues home visits cost more in the long run than the single payment for day care and Alzheimer’s sufferers are not stimulated to the same extent – Ivy House offers activities such as painting and ball games.

He said, “Day care can lead to an improvement in the individual’s wellbeing and in the long-term, a reduction in costs because they will not end up in hospital beds.

“Most health workers work very hard against the odds but there is still a problem which needs to be resolved.”

A spokesperson from the East Sussex Downs and Weald Primary Care Trust, which funds the trust controlling the DGH, said it was working hard to improve its services.

Last year it introduced dementia advisors to help those affected to choose from the range of treatment options available to them.

He added, “Later this year we will also look at the opportunities for commissioning day care services for people with dementia from independent organisations, such as private care providers or charities and social enterprises.

“Good progress has been made in providing improved services for people with dementia in the county and we will continue to strive to deliver as much as possible in the months and years ahead.”