Many people get the all clear to leave hospital but lack transport or don’t have someone who can support them as they recover at home. They can end up stuck at hospital, which means bed days are lost and there is a greater risk to the hospital of overcrowding.
British Red Cross Assisted Discharge Services support patients across the UK in the period immediately following a stay in hospital. The aim of the services is to provide short term support to elderly or vulnerable patients to smooth the process of settling back into a normal routine at home and enable people to regain their confidence and independence.
Poole hospital, which serves around 500,000 people, is one of the 64 hospitals that is working with the Red Cross to plug the gap between hospital and social care. As well as providing assisted discharge, the service is part of a multi-disciplinary hospital team, which is aimed at getting older patients out of hospital more efficiently. Patients are sent home and assessed at home, but are still under hospital clinical care. Relevant support is then provided at home until they are fit enough to be discharged from hospital care.
Each year, the service helps over 1,000 people get home and resettle safely. Specific support activities include helping people regain confidence and providing emotional help, as well as undertaking practical tasks such as carrying out a home risk assessment, taking people shopping and preparing food.
A recent article in the Guardian highlighted the very special work the British Red Cross team does at Poole