The Scottish Government has pledged to “significantly reduce” long hospital stays and out-of-area residential placements for people with learning disabilities or complex needs by March 2024.
In one new report published Mondaythe government and local authority Cosla have committed to setting up a new national register to improve monitoring of people at risk of hospitalization or inappropriate placement.
The register will track an individual’s progress, with draft guidelines suggesting local health and social service partnerships can discuss their situation as frequently as twice a month.
At review meetings, plans will be made to ensure the person has access to the care they need, including housing and financial needs.
The report’s mission statement stated, “By March 2024, we want and need to see real change with out-of-zone residential placements and inappropriate hospital stays dramatically reduced, to the point that out-of-zone residential placements are only made by individuals or family choices and people are only hospitalized for as long as they need assessment and treatment.
Earlier this month, a grieving mother told STV News she wanted to see an “upheaval” in the care system following the death of her son.
Keith Findlay, who suffered from mitochondrial disease, was admitted to hospital following a seizure in April 2020.
But after no suitable care package could be found, the 30-year-old died in hospital in November 2021 when he would have been declared medically fit for discharge in June.
His mother, Emma, said she felt helpless during Keith’s final days.
She said: “He knew he wouldn’t be going home.
“All he wanted to do was go home, with his care plan in place, and that never happened.”
Another mother described the care system as ‘broken’ after her son spent three years in hospital because there was no adequate social care program for him.
Meanwhile, Kate Sainsbury said she saw soft therapeutic care disappear, with her son Louis locked in his room and restrained.
She told STV News that one of the worst incidents saw Louis held down by a team of adults and injected into the bottom.
Ms Sainsbury said it made her feel ‘powerless to protect him’.
Ms Sainsbury believes what happened to Louis was ‘not because people are bad’, but because the care system is ‘broken’.
Louis is now moving into his own home in Auchterarder, Perthshire, and will be close to his family where he has a “fantastic and dedicated” team of caregivers to support him.
Following the release of the Coming Home Implementation report, Mental Health Minister Kevin Stewart said: “It is totally unacceptable for people to spend time in hospitals or other care facilities while medically fit to go out.
“For every day spent unnecessarily in hospital, a person loses part of their connection to their community, family and friends.
“We are not protecting the rights of people with learning disabilities and complex needs if they stay in hospital when they should be living at home or in a family environment with the appropriate support.”
The registry will organize people into two categories of high and moderate risk.
High-risk people will include people for whom there is concern about the adequacy of their environment, while the moderate-risk category will cover people for whom the crisis has passed but who will still need to be monitored.
The report also recommended a national support panel and peer support network so that best practices can be shared to help “ensure that real change is made”.
Stewart added: “The recommendations are essential to achieving our mission to significantly reduce delayed discharge and inappropriate out-of-area placements for adults with learning disabilities and complex care needs by March 2024.
“Visibility and accountability are key. It will not be an easy task, but we have a collective responsibility to act.
Jan Savage, director of Enable Scotland, described the March 2024 deadline as a ‘historic moment’, but added: ‘But the day of the real celebration will be the day when we know no one is still stuck at hospital or live in communities where they do not want to be.
“As of this date, the Scottish Government and Cosla have now made it clear that no person with a learning disability in Scotland will be hospitalized unless they need it, and no one will be forced to live away from communities that they have. want to live.
“Nobody will be in that position anymore. And inappropriate institutional units will not be part of Scotland’s future.
Ms Savage said “two years is still a long time” and that investment and support must continue to ensure that the timetable is met.
She added: “Our campaign (My own front door) will continue to ensure that progress is made quickly and that Scotland meets this deadline. The human rights of our fellow citizens depend on it.