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Elderly Stuck in Hospital Due to Nursing Shortage

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Elderly Stuck in Hospital Due to Nursing Shortage

Landspítali National University Hospital

Photo: Sverrir H. Geirmundsson.

Elderly people are occupying some 100 beds at Landspitali University Hospital in Reykjavík, when they should really be in nursing homes, the hospital’s director says.

The director said, speaking to the hospital’s annual meeting this week, that more funding is needed to properly solve the problem. The health minister agrees.

“On this very day, there are 95 so-called abilities and health assessments, in other words those who it has been decided need to wait to go into nursing homes. These people are living in reasonable conditions but it would be much better if they were at home, as a nursing home is,” Páll Matthíasson said.

He also said that various projects are on the go to relieve the problem, including the 15 waiting-bed spaces the hospital will have access to in Akranes from mid-May, as well as the setting up of a diagnostic ward and opening of a patient guesthouse, which will open in the autumn. These and other factors will soon help to discharge patients better and faster.

“But the big problem and that which I wanted to point out, is that in the long-run close consideration needs to be given to financing of nursing services and support for the elderly. We see that until 2022, it is the health ministry’s assessment that there will be 273 more nursing places needed in the capital region than there are currently plans to build.”

According to RÚV, delays in the discharge of the elderly from hospital mean that sick people waiting for in-patient appointments are often also delayed. Health minister Óttarr Proppé says efforts are underway to increase health funding to projects other than the building of a new Landspítali hospital.

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