Helping people get home from hospital for Christmas
Published: 21 December 2022
No one wants to spend Christmas in hospital, especially when they have no medical reason to be there, and with 3 days until the big day Devon’s NHS is urging people to help get their loved one home before the King’s speech.
Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust’s medical director Ian Currie said: “This is our first Christmas for several years which hasn’t been impacted by lockdowns and COVID restrictions, and we want to reunite as many families as possible.
“We’re asking everyone who has a friend or relative in hospital and is ready to leave to help us to get them home for Christmas. Supporting people to leave hospital when they no longer need specialist clinical care is really important. There is lots of evidence that shows people recover better and more quickly in their own bed, and with the right support around them. Staying in hospital longer than needed can result in a loss of independence, muscle deterioration, and limited mobility, and you’re more likely to get a good night’s sleep at home. There is also a greater risk of being exposed to a hospital acquired infection.”
Help is available to support people at home once they’ve left hospital, and to avoid being readmitted.
Mr Currie added: “We understand that some people may be worried or feel anxious about caring for someone, but our discharge teams will ask patients about their needs and what support network they have around them to ensure they’re looked after and avoid being readmitted to hospital.
“Some people may be eligible for a personal health budget which can be used to help with transport costs, paying for a carer, and assisted equipment and adaptations. The funding can also be used to help with childcare costs for people who are taking time off work to care for someone.
“The Home First team also helps support people who are waiting for a care assessment, support, or rehab when they’re ready to leave hospital. The team will work with the patient to understand what support they need, and create a tailored plan that meets their needs.”
Carolyn Mills, Royal Devon chief nursing officer added: “Our staff are doing everything they can to support our patients in ensuring they are well enough to be at home in time for Christmas. We need to know that when our patients return home they will be safe, warm and supported throughout the upcoming Christmas holidays, so we are asking people to help us.”
You can also help to prepare people to return home by getting some basic food and drink in the cupboards, and checking if they also need any over-the-counter medication such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to manage any pain they may have. Please also check in on them when they’re home to make sure they’re okay.