Easing hospital patients into everyday life poised to expand across Bradford and Airedale
For Ilkley pensioner Kempton Cannon, returning to his empty house after a spell in hospital was set to be a daunting prospect.
The 90-year-old former painter and decorator from Addingham was anxious about how he would cope back home living alone.
But now, as a ground-breaking project expands across the whole of Bradford and Airedale for the first time, a package of help and support is available to Kempton and hundreds of patients like him.
Home from Hospital is an initiative designed to ease adults of all ages safely back into everyday life after being discharged from hospital.
It helps with everything from benefits guidance and restarting any home care; to making sure houses are safe, and that gas, electric and water supplies are in working order.
And, as part of their welcome home, patients receive a hamper of food basics and a simple safety and well-being checklist – plus a friendly face or two from volunteers involved in the project, which is co-ordinated by the award-winning Shipley charity, The Carers Resource.
For Kempton, the visits are proving a lifeline. “I do not know what I would have done, or how I would have got back on my feet, without them,” he said. “They have helped me feel better, which in turn has helped me get better.
“The people who come are like old friends – as if I have known them all my life. They make sure I’m warm, eating and sleeping properly, and pop to the shops like a good neighbour if I need anything getting in.
“Having a coffee and a chat with them makes a real difference to me as I try to get back into a routine and regain my independence.”
“They are there for me – helping my home feel like home again, and making my life worth living.”
The programme of additional support – which can last up to six weeks and is tailored to individual needs following an assessment – was originally offered to patients being discharged from Airedale General Hospital.
After proving its success – and attracting extra investment from the local NHS – the service has been extended to now include all patients returning home from Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital, as well as community hospitals at Westbourne Green, Eccleshill and Westwood Park in Bradford; Troutbeck in Ilkley; and Curregate in Keighley.
“We’ve also been able to broaden the scope of the project so it is accessible to more people in our community – so now you do not have to be elderly or living alone to benefit from it,” said Shelley Marshall, who manages the Home from Hospital project for the charity.
“In addition to supporting people to become more confident and comfortable when returning home, the project has the added bonus of helping to reduce the number of hospital re-admissions – and Kempton’s story is a perfect example of how this is being achieved.”
“It puts Bradford and Airedale at the forefront of home support as few areas of the UK, if any, have launched this type of project on such a wide geographical scale.”
Assistant chief nurse at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Shelley Bailey, said: “Going home from hospital can be a daunting prospect for some people, especially elderly people, who live alone so anything that will ease this transition and help give them back their independence, we would welcome.
“This scheme being offered by The Carers’ Resource to patients at our hospitals means that nobody should have to arrive home to a cold, dark empty house on their own – instead they will get the support that will enable them to feel more confident and comfortable about being back home.
“We are delighted that Carers’ Resource has launched this new scheme for our patients and we hope that this new partnership will continue to flourish.”
Patients can access the scheme via hospital nursing staff. There is also a self-referral available for those people who are anxious about going into hospital, and what will happen afterwards, who can contact the charity direct.
Volunteers are vital to the future success of the scheme, ensuring people have the right support where and when they need it the most, and the charity is currently launching a recruitment drive across the Bradford and Airedale communities.
Those people wishing to refer themselves to Home from Hospital before admission, or who would like more information about joining the team of volunteers making visits and telephone should contact The Carers’ Resource on 01274 531377
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