Patients are being settled back into life at home when they leave hospital thanks to a new service which has launched in north Essex.
The escorted home service enables patients with limited mobility to be settled back home safely by a member of Colchester Hospital’s therapies team, who checks they have everything they need following their hospital stay, such as equipment.
Staff at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Colchester and Ipswich hospitals, are providing the service in collaboration with voluntary organisation Community360, which provides the patient transport.
Since its launch in January, around 70 patients have returned home in safety with additional support in place. The service has proved such a success that it has recently been awarded additional funding to extend it to operate seven days a week for the next 12 months.
Steve Alcock, senior physiotherapy assistant at Colchester Hospital, said: “It’s been fantastic to see the difference we’ve been able to make for patients after only a few months.
“We’ve provided extra support and reassurance to patients who have been worried about how they will manage the journey home, and have worked with our occupational therapists to ensure that the right equipment is in place from day one.
“The feedback that we’ve collected tells us that patients have really valued the service.”
Tracy Rudling, CEO at Community360 said: “We are delighted to be involved in the home from hospital service specifically focusing on the early morning discharge, and that the extra funding has been secured.
“None of us relish the thought of spending time in hospital and the experience can be disorientating. Older people can find it difficult to settle back into home afterwards, especially if they have no-one nearby to support them.
“Having someone to take them home, being there to give a word of encouragement, make a cup of tea and check that they have everything they need can make all the difference to their long term health and wellbeing.”
Benefits of the service include:
• Patients are given vital support and assistance when they are transferred from hospital transport vehicles into their homes.
• They are able to take equipment home with them, including large items such as commodes.
• Therapy staff are able to review the patient’s home environment first-hand and quickly reassess their equipment and care if necessary.
• The service helps to ensure the transition from hospital to home runs smoothly, including handovers to care agencies.
Patients who have benefitted from the service say it has helped them to feel more confident before they return home as the team can explain how they can help and address any concerns they may have. Some patients have also been discharged sooner thanks to the escorted home service.
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