NEW policies and extra staff are reducing delays in discharging older people from Dorset hospitals.

Figures for December show 112 adult social care delays – said to be the lowest ever.

The figure compares to 345 delayed discharges from hospital in December 2017.

A report to county councillors at the Dorset health and wellbeing committee on March 13 says that part of this reduction, which equates to 3.6 delays per day, compared to the target of 9, is due to new policies for health and social care.

Said a joint report by the county council and clinical commissioning group : “A cohesive system of both increased social work capacity within Acute Hospitals, increased capacity within the domiciliary care market, and the incorporation of voluntary sector resources are in place to manage increase demand through the winter period.

The initiatives have had significant impact on performance in particular regarding Delayed Transfers of Care.“

The same report also shows and improvement in support for people once they get back home so that they stay there for longer, and a decline in the number of older people being admitted to residential care – mainly because they are being better supported at home.

Further work is now planned, due to be rolled out from May onwards, to support carers at home. This will mainly operate through GPs and seeks to proactively recognise and respond to carers' issues and needs before the situation becomes a crisis.

A joint plan is also being commissioned to help train carers using community venues such as libraries and online with work about to get underway on how better to use aids, adaptations to homes and assistive technologies.