Patients in Wiltshire will be offered a helping hand in getting home from hospital and established back in their own homes and communities by an extended service launching on 1 November.
The Wiltshire Home from Hospital Service will be available to anyone aged 18 or over who is living in Wiltshire and is unable to access NHS or social care services.
It will help patients at Royal United Hospital, Great Western Hospital, Salisbury Foundation Trust and any of the other hospitals in the county. It will also ensure that support and information is provided on the spot to relatives and friends who are caring for them.
Catharine Hurford, Head of Operations at Carer Support Wiltshire, said: “We want to ensure that discharge from hospital runs as smoothly as possible for people who may otherwise be finding it quite difficult and challenging.
“Our Home from Hospital co-ordinators and volunteers will help with any worries someone may have about living comfortably back at home to avoid people feeling isolated or abandoned.”
The service, funded by Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, will cover important aspects of living including making sure a person is warm and comfortable, checking that there is food in the house, collecting prescriptions, arranging for telecare and helping with sorting out unpaid bills.
This launch follows on from a pilot project managed by Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living which highlighted the need to help people to return home safely with adequate emotional, social and practical support.
Debbie Loader, Home from Hospital Co-ordinator, said: “The great success of the pilot project shows how valued this service is to people who may be very stressed while they are unwell in hospital.
“We have been able to assist with a wide range of worries, from making sure an elderly lady had a birthday card to give to her husband of 60 years, to doing a follow-up call to someone who had returned home and did not answer because she had had a fall. When we got no response we alerted the home care workers who went round and helped her.
“Different things make a difference to different people and this service means that we are able to reassure them that we will take care of what matters most to them.”
The Home from Hospital service will support continuing access to health care and social care services in order to reduce the number of hospital re-admissions.
Maggie Rae, corporate director at Wiltshire Council, said: “Our Better Care Plan places a focus on reducing the time people spend in hospitals. To help achieve this we need to ensure there are good services which are available to support people when they have been discharged.
“We hope this service will provide a vital link to help people once they leave hospital.”
The service will be co-ordinated by Carer Support Wiltshire, Age UK Wiltshire and Age UK Salisbury District and is available for up to eight weeks after discharge.
To find out more about the Wiltshire Home from Hospital Service, please contact Carer Support Wiltshire on 0800 181 4118 or visit www.carersinwiltshire.co.uk/hfh