British Red Cross and Age UK support patients leaving hospital

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust will be closely working with British Red Cross and Age UK Kensington & Chelsea who will be providing extra support for patients leaving hospital and preventing unnecessary hospital admissions amongst older people.

The partnership is a result of £1.2million Government funding given to three charities for projects in 29 hospital trusts across the country, each lasting 12 weeks.

The Trust has a long-running relationship with British Red Cross who already provide a ‘home from hospital’ service to recently discharged patients. This sees volunteers escort patients home, help them with shopping or carry out tasks that make the return from hospital easier.

Our clinicians also frequently refer patients to Age UK Kensington & Chelsea, for example to their befriending service which helps support older people in the community from becoming socially isolated.

Rebecca Campbell, service manager for intermediate care and discharge care at the Trust said: “It’s a top priority for us to make sure that when our patients are ready to leave hospital, they are able to get back home or to their community in a timely. Since last year, we’ve seen many fewer delays in discharging our patients, and are continuing to work hard in this area.

“The support British Red Cross already provides to patients returning home makes this transition much easier for many people. We look forward to working closely our partners British Red Cross and Age UK Kensington & Chelsea to further improve the experience of our patients.”

Emma Spragg, British Red Cross operations director in London said: “Going home after being in hospital can be a daunting prospect, especially if you live alone or have little support available to you. Our team will be on hand to support people as they are discharged from hospital, such as escorting them home, helping them to settle in, ensuring that their home is warm, assisting with shopping and contacting family, friends and local services to make sure that the right follow up support is in place.”

Jan Halliday, Chief Executive of Age UK Kensington & Chelsea: “By complementing the essential role of health professionals, voluntary organisations bring the idea of whole-person care to life. By providing early support we can prevent older people needing more intensive treatment and care, whether that’s by avoiding a hospital admission or by getting them home earlier through putting good support in place. We then make sure that they are linked into social and leisure activities and peer support which combats loneliness and improves wellbeing, and practical help with shopping and other tasks.”

Department of Health has facilitated 29 trusts to work with charity partners Age UK, Royal Voluntary Service and British Red Cross on projects to support patients through timely hospital discharges and a reduction in unnecessary admissions and readmissions.