bed blocker
n. A chronically-ill patient who uses a hospital bed for an extended period because they require long-term care. Also: bed-blocker.
bed blocking pp.

Example Citations:
The Scottish National Party called on the commission to remove means testing of the elderly. The party‘s social policy spokeswoman, Kay Ullrich, said: “This would immediately remove the worry many pensioners face over losing their homes and their life savings to pay for the care they need.

“I hope the commission will tell new Labour that their attitude to the elderly must change. At the moment new Labour act as though the elderly are hospital bed blockers, instead of members of our society who must be looked after.”
—Martin Hannan, “Cautious welcome for Royal Commission on elderly care funding,” The Scotsman, December 5, 1997

Dr. Richard Moulton of Fort Frances said: "It will take push and energy to get government to move on this but it could loosen the jam of bed blockers" (elderly people in hospital for whom no nursing home bed is available and whose families can't look after them at home, often because no one can afford to stay home to provide care).
—Marilyn Dunlop, "OMA wants public to know doctors care about social issues," The Toronto Star, June 11, 1986

Earliest Citation:
Hospital clinicians...fear their effective number of available beds will be increasingly reduced by “bed-blockers”.
—S. G. Rubin and G. H. Davies, “Bed blocking by elderly patients in general-hospital wards,” Age & Ageing, August 1, 1975

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