Monday, 16 September 2013

Hospital to Home

Living independently is a reality if homes are secure, safe and warm and people over 60 have enough resources to maintain a healthy lifestyle. While in hospital, it seems issues of concern surrounding housing are magnified.

With this in mind, the purpose of our Hospital to Home scheme is to ensure that Care & Repair services are targeted at the most vulnerable in our society, especially those who are high on the falls agenda.

The scheme is aimed at not only clients but the professionals working with the most vulnerable and those at risk of falls such as Nursing staff, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Hospital Social Workers. The scheme enables these professionals to understand the services the agency can offer to clients to assist them with ensuring that a safe discharge is paramount.

On wards that cater for the over 60s, our caseworkers undertake monthly 'ward Rounds' during visiting periods, enabling engagement with patients and their families to introduce them to the services of Care & Repair.

The ‘Hospital to Home’ scheme is limited in its current form and funding is required to sustain the scheme further. The scheme is not just the 'packs' that are distributed containing information on housing options but the whole 'package' of Care & Repair, encompassing the ability of the staff delivering the scheme, the Caseworker service offered to patients in hospital to discuss concerns regarding housing and the network of organisations supporting the agency to deliver a holistic service post hospital discharge.

Many patients admitted to hospital are there due to falls within the home. The agency services such as the ‘Healthy Homes Check’ and Benefit Checks offered as standard can address housing issues that are of concern to clients and could be preventing a safe discharge from hospital. These can be undertaken whilst the patient is in hospital, thus cutting down time spent in hospital and consequently bed blocking.

Health needs to recognise the scheme’s benefits and allocate sufficient funding to support it. The scheme needs a dedicated Hospital Caseworker who will work alongside a multi disciplinary team of health staff and other organisations to ensure that housing is placed on the safe discharge agenda.

If this is facilitated by a strong financial commitment by government and rolled out throughout Wales, results would be a drastic cut in the amount of re-admissions to hospital and making an impact on reducing over-stretched Health Board budgets.

Nicola Eccles
Agency Manager
Conwy Care & Repair

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