Older people’s charity, Royal Voluntary Service, is able to continue its vital Home from Hospital service at the Great Western Hospital, Swindon, thanks to funding from health plan provider Simplyhealth.
Research conducted by Royal Voluntary Service, assisted by the Kings Fund, identified that older people returning home from hospital without enough support are more than twice as likely to be readmitted within three months1. This service therefore makes a huge difference to people’s recovery and hospital re-admissions.
Royal Voluntary Service supports over 100,000 older people each month to stay independent for longer with tailor made solutions. The Home from Hospital service sees volunteers working alongside discharge and social work teams at the hospital to prepare older patients for going home and supporting them following their discharge with up to six weeks of regular home visits to help them settle back home. An average of 35 people are currently supported per month and helped to regain their confidence at home with 340 people helped since the service launched in July 2015.
As part of the service, the volunteer will prepare the person’s home, making sure the heating and lights are on and that the kitchen is stocked with essentials. Once home, they offer companionship and simple tasks such as helping with shopping, collecting prescriptions and medication and providing transport to follow-up medical appointments. In addition, they can refer onto other services if required by the individual and help plan longer-term social and practical help.
With the increased funding from Simplyhealth, the service is going to be developed to integrate further into wider health and wellbeing working with both clinical staff in the hospital and in the local community. This will see them working with Occupational Therapists to assist older people with their physical rehabilitation and increased activity such as walking and mental wellbeing by assisting older people to access community-based groups and activities.
Patricia, 84 years old, who was supported by the Home from Hospital service in Swindon said: “I look forward to Andrea’s visits, she’s so cheerful, she’s like a ray of sunshine. I had what’s called delirium so I was frightened. I knew I’d be safe at home. I just wasn’t feeling safe in hospital which was strange because they were so kind to me but that is where I had felt so ill and coming home you feel in a safe environment. The help I’ve had from Royal Voluntary Service has been marvellous.”
Lisa Knight, Operations Manager for Royal Voluntary Service, said: “This service will mean more older people will receive the support of a caring volunteer who will be there to help them get back on their feet after a stay in hospital. We know that placing a volunteer at the centre of a person’s recovery plan can make a huge difference, which is why we are delighted to receive this funding from Simplyhealth which will enable us to continue the service.”
Sarah Ford, Chair of Simplyhealth Charitable Committee, said: “The Home from Hospital service is a vital thread in the fabric of the social care landscape, helping ease the strain on patients returning from hospital. We have seen first-hand the fantastic work this organisation does and we hope our support will help advance local initiatives like this and encourage more collaboration between organisations across the UK in an effort to support people with care needs.”
Through its army of 35,000 volunteers, the charity runs services such as Good Neighbours (companionship), Meals-on-Wheels and Books-on-Wheels that alleviate loneliness and help older people. Royal Voluntary Service also provides practical support for older people who have been in hospital through its On Ward Companionship and Home from Hospital services and via its network of retail shops and cafes.
To watch a video about the Home from Hospital service has made a difference to Patricia, please visit https://www.simplyhealth.co.uk/sh/pages/about-us/charitable-giving/videos/rvs.jsp