Also found in: Idioms.
bed blockerA generic NHS term that has several slightly different definitions:
(1) A patient who uses a hospital bed for a long period of time because of chronic illness that requires skilled nursing, thus blocking use of that bed by other patients, especially by those with more acute disease;
(2) A patient requiring extended care—but not a skilled nursing bed—who nonetheless occupies an acute care bed that should be used by patients needing skilled nursing;
(3) A patient who has been approved for discharge from inpatient care, but has no alternative facility to which he or she can go.