NICE proposes two day limit from referral to the start of intermediate care

Adults accepted for bed-based intermediate care must start their treatment within two days of referral, according to recommendations from the National Institute for Health Excellence (NICE).

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The CSP’s Sara Conroy said the new standards require transformation of current ways of working

NICE says that if a patient’s move to bed-based intermediate care takes longer than two days, treatment is less likely to be successful. This could mean they end up in hospital or residential care.  

Its quality standard on intermediate care and reablement, published on 9 August, is aimed at physiotherapists and other health professionals, as well as providers and commissioners of healthcare.

It places a responsibility on physiotherapists to make sure their patients can start reablement within the two-day limit.

If hospitals, care homes and other providers are to deliver on the new standard, NICE says they may need to coordinate their efforts to manage demand for intermediate care across organisations. It suggests that a single point of access for referrals could be useful.

Giving patients and their families good information about their care and involving them in discussions about the rehabilitation process, is another requirement from NICE.

This should mean that patients are clear about what they can expect to achieve through rehabilitation.

Sara Conroy, CSP professional adviser, said: ‘NICE is setting some important benchmarks. It will now be up to local services to work out how and when these can be achieved.’

She added, however, that if the new standards are to be realised, there will need to be considerable transformation of current ways of working.

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by Gill Hitchcock

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