Home from hospital: New personalised service helps older people
A new service supporting patients over the age of 60 who are being discharged home after a stay in hospital has been hailed a success after three months of the service going live.
Since April 2014, Manchester residents who are over 60 years of age and have been treated at North Manchester General Hospital in Crumpsall have been benefiting from a new personalised hospital discharge support service.
The new “Home from Hospital” discharge support service is a one year pilot project commissioned by The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust which runs the hospital, in partnership with Manchester City Council and North Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
The service builds on the successful and well established home from hospital service which offers a telephone follow up service to all over 60s who have visited A&E or been discharged after a stay in hospital.
National and local research shows that for many older and vulnerable people getting out of hospital and back to their own home is generally a difficult and challenging experience. Many patients who are over 60 may feel socially isolated and lack the active support of an extended family. Hospital discharge is therefore often accompanied by feelings of abandonment, isolation and depression. Many patients still in recovery may have to cope with major adjustments in their life and with practical problems to overcome with which they are poorly placed to address. This can further undermine health and resilience leading to the risk of further ill-health and hospitalisation.
The Home from Hospital service, which is delivered at North Manchester General Hospital by Manchester Care and Repair, ensures that vulnerable or isolated patients aged over 60 are provided with personalised discharge support which is tailored to their needs. The new service has demonstrated that through a simple assessment tool, barriers to health and independence can be identified and emotional and practical support delivered, which reduces risks and allows isolated individuals to re-connect with sources of local support.
Manchester Care and Repair is a local charity and award winning home improvement agency which has been supporting older and vulnerable Manchester residents for over 20 years.
Karen Kennedy, Home from Hospital manager, said:
“Any patients identified as possibly benefitting from the service are supported and prepared for their discharge home. We also transport them home and settle them back in. The discharge support service will assist the patient to warm the home, make necessary adjustments, prepare beds and a simple meal, shop for immediate essentials and re-connect with services, relatives or friends – in short ‘that little bit of extra support’ that a close relative or friend would seek to provide to someone in recuperation. This is then followed up by regular telephone and direct contact as necessary for a period of up to six weeks by staff and volunteers.
“The overwhelming response to the introduction of this service from both patients and NMGH staff alike has been incredibly positive. Most people can’t understand why such a service hasn’t been available until now as it is clear that a little bit of extra support, reassurance and help with practical tasks can make a massive difference to vulnerable patients.”
May Eddleston, 91 from Newton Heath is one of over 100 patients who have been supported by the scheme within its first four weeks of operation. She said: “I think it’s the best thing that has happened to the hospital. The service is marvellous, the staff see if you need anything to eat and will do some shopping for you. I have no family locally and they have helped me so much.”
Helen Speed, Programme Director Urgent Care at North Manchester CCG, said: “We are really excited by this pilot; it’s a simple idea that offers massive benefits for older patients when they are likely to be feeling very vulnerable and afraid. It also offers benefits to hospital staff who can be confident to discharge patients home knowing that Care and Repair are there to support the patient.”
PICTURED: Patient May Eddleston, 91, is pictured with Karen Kennedy, Home from Hospital manager and Patricia Walton, Home from Hospital co-ordinator.