There’s no place like home: New campaign launched to help care for patients at home
Health and care organisations in Gloucestershire have teamed up to launch a new campaign aimed at making patients and their families more aware of the benefits of recovering at home just as soon as they are well enough to leave hospital
The campaign, which is being supported by Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and Gloucestershire County Council, is called ‘There’s no place like home’ and raises awareness of the benefits of recovering at home.
Being in a hospital during a period of acute illness is the right place to be. However, there’s lots of evidence that shows once that acute phase is over, hospitals are not the best place for recovery and rehabilitation where surroundings are unfamiliar, mobility is more limited and good sleep less easy to come by.
Why there really is no place like home
Physical strength: If you stay in bed for long periods you lose mobility, fitness and muscle strength. This makes it harder for you to regain your independence. Getting up, dressed and moving helps maintain muscle strength and your ability to do things for yourself.
Rest: Good sleep is essential for a long and healthy life but it’s even more important when you're recovering from an injury or illness. Hospitals are busy places, often with patients and staff coming and going throughout the night and many patients struggle to get a good night’s sleep which can lead to sleep deprivation. There’s no bed like your own bed when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.
Mental wellbeing: Being in familiar surroundings with support from your friends and families is one of the best things for mental wellbeing. Hospitals are unfamiliar and can be very confusing, which increases your risk of developing delirium (sudden confusion).
Infection: When you're unwell you're often less resistant to infections. We do everything we can to prevent you from developing an infection but the risk is usually lower at home where there are fewer unwell people under one roof.
Deborah Lee, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We want to highlight to patients and their families that, once they no longer need hospital care and can leave, it really is better for them and their recovery to do this at home. Hospitals are the right place to be for people when they are really unwell, but once they start to get better their recovery can be much improved in a home environment. Hospitals are unfamiliar places, usual activities that help older people stay independent such as making a cup of tea or taking a short walk, aren’t possible. We know that some patients and their families are worried when it comes to going home, especially if they feel like they still need support. I would like to reassure patients that we always strive to work with families to reach an agreement on the support needed following discharge and any specific arrangements.”
As part of the campaign, an information leaflet and checklist will be shared with inpatients, families and their carers raising awareness of the benefits of recovering at home
Matt Holdaway, Interim Chief Nurse, added:
“We know that being in hospital can be a really worrying time for people and it is important for us to make sure that we are doing everything we can to have early discussions about what are the next steps for our patients when they are well enough to be safely discharged from our care.
This might be making plans for our patients to go back to where they normally live or making arrangements if they need any temporary support and help, such as staying in a care home.
We have these early discussions, so our patients don’t have to stay in hospital for any longer than they need to. We want to ensure that our patients have the best recovery possible, once they are well enough.
There are a number of things you can do to help someone who is coming home from hospital, these can include: Getting their bedroom set up, stocking up their fridge to make sure they have enough food, putting the heating on, cleaning and making sure they have everything they need.”
Dr Andy Seymour, Clinical Chair, NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:
“One Gloucestershire partners are working more closely than ever before to ensure that people are able to leave hospital when safe to do so with ongoing care support if needed.
We know that people often recover best in their own homes and in familiar surroundings, but leaving hospital after a period of illness can be daunting. It’s important therefore that relatives and carers are confident and understand what they can reasonably do themselves to support their loved ones. This includes access to good information about what to look out for and where to get help in particular circumstances, including in the community.
This is not only beneficial to people in their on-going recovery at home or another care setting, but also benefits the sickest patients in need of a hospital bed.”
The campaign also aims to inform patients and their families about the other options that may be offered if they are well enough to leave hospital, but still need a little extra help and so home isn’t a safe option for them. One of these options may be a temporary placement in a social setting, such as a care home.
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