Vulnerable patients given the support they need to return home safely by charity

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VULNERABLE elderly people in Sheffield are being given support on their return home from hospital in a new scheme aimed at reducing be blocking and helping people who live alone.

City charity Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care (SCCCC) has won a major new contract to quickly transfer hospital patients to home, freeing up vital bed space and reducing waiting times.

The charity, which was founded in 1966, has already began transferring patients aged 65 or over with no immediate family support, after being commissioned by Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the local CCG.

The “rapid response” service sees its staff on standby to provide help within an hour of receiving a call from a hospital. Their duties include taking the patient home, helping with emergency shopping, topping up utilities and looking for ways to prevent slips, trips and falls.

Other practical help includes switching on the heating, making them a snack and providing emotional support until the arrival of family, friends or a care agency.

They also make referrals to other organisations like the fire service or Community Equipment Loan Service, where they believe a patient may be in need of further support,

Hospital to Home Coordinator at SCCCC, Sarah Wigston, said: “This is a highly personal service which helps support older vulnerable people in Sheffield. It means that after a long stay in hospital, patients are not sent home in an ambulance to a cold, lonely home.

“They have a friendly face there to get them settled in, to have a cuppa and a chat until further help arrives.

“We have long known that many older people are staying in hospital longer because they are unable to get home without support. So we are speeding up the discharge process which in turn alleviates bed blocking.

“It’s a patient centred approach, providing a continuity of care so that an older patient feels comfortable, safe and supported after a stay in hospital. We believe the help we provide will ultimately reduce delayed discharge and the risk of re-admission to hospital.”