Bed Blocker Meaning

(chiefly Britain, idiomatic, derogatory, medicine, public policy) An elderly hospitalized person who is too infirm to return home but not sufficiently ill to necessitate continued hospitalization, creating a situation in which his or her hospital stay is prolonged while authorities or relatives search for a suitable placement amid the scarce resources of nursing homes or other long-term care facilities.

Example: 2006 March 7, Jacqueline Maley, "Court evicts NHS 'bed blocker'," The Guardian (UK) (retrieved 2 Dec 2012):
  A 72-year-old "bed blocker" was yesterday ordered to vacate the hospital bed he has refused to leave for three years, despite being in good health.
2008 Oct. 10, Eilish O'Regan, "Plan aims to ease cost of nursing home care," Irish Independent (retrieved 2 Dec 2012):
  There will also be a fee charged to a "bed blocker"—someone fit for discharge from an acute hospital but reluctant to go until a nursing home place is provided.
2012 Feb. 21, "Ontario woman on crusade to demand hospital accountability," Global News Toronto (Canada) (retrieved 2 Dec 2012):
  Dimitra was slapped with a hospital bill worth $18,238, for taking up an acute car bed for too long. . . . "Maria's mother was desperately ill and needed hospital care and she was treated like a bed blocker."