Social care providers are unable to accept hospital patients ready for discharge because their staff are “leaving in droves”.
More than 200 managers told the Institute of Health and Social Care Management that they have had to turn down requests for care.
The UK Homecare Association said that staffing is “the worst anyone can remember”.
Firms that send carers round to homes on a daily basis are handing back care packages, which means families can struggle to keep their relatives safe.
Joanna Mitchell, director of Your Care, which provides mainly palliative care, said she had to turn down around 30 care packages one morning this week.
She takes referrals from community nurses and hospitals in Kent to help people live their final days at home.