A new pilot has been launched which extends Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service’s successful Hospital to Home Service to users of the county’s Reablement service who are leaving George Eliot Hospital.
The Hospital to Home Service was set up to provide safe and timely transport for customers who have been discharged from Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments, but require support to settle back at home. The ‘settling in’ and offer of a follow up ‘Safe and Well Check’ is central to the service.
The Hospital to Home Service has been available at George Eliot Hospital and Warwick Hospital since August 2018, but is now being piloted with users of the county’s Reablement service in Nuneaton.
On a person’s return home, a Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service crew member spends up to 90 minutes with the individual settling them in at home; this may include preparation of a hot drink and snack, and contacting friends, family and care agencies to inform them that the person has returned home.
Individuals who have been returned to their home by Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service are also offered a Safe and Well Check, which covers areas such as home safety, mobility, loneliness, poverty and poor housing.
The Hospital to Home Service includes a Fire Safety Check and provides people with Health and Well-being advice on issues including slips, trips and falls, smoking cessation, home security and home heating.
Where the Hospital to Home Service receives referrals for individuals that are not eligible for the service, the person referring them is advised to use an appropriate alternative such as the Ambulance Service or Health Transport provision.
By carrying out an assessment of the person’s wellbeing and any potential risks at home, and advising them on who to contact for further support, it is hoped that the Hospital to Home Service will reduce the likelihood of people being readmitted to hospital.
The exciting new pilot, which will run until the end of March, has been funded by the Better Care Fund in Warwickshire.
It is part of wider joined up working between all agencies involved in supporting the health and wellbeing of residents across the county, including Warwickshire County Council’s Public Health and Adult Social Care teams and Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Explaining how the service works, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service Station Commander for Prevention, Keith McDermott, said:
“Statistics show that elderly members of our community are one of the most vulnerable when it comes to fires in the home.
“By working closely with our partners, we are hoping to increase safety in the home as well as support patients who are ready to be discharged from hospital, but who may need some extra support.
“Where there is no family or a trusted friend, a call will be made to fire control and someone from the home to home register will be contacted to transport the person to their home from hospital.
“Crews will collect the person, safely get them home and will settle those people in their homes, build confidence and reassure them before leaving them.
“They will also be offered a ‘Safe and Well’ check within five days to support and identify any additional needs they may have.
“Those delivering the service will not be on duty and will be used on a self-rostering basis, so they are only on duty when they inform Control that they are available.”
Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health, Councillor Les Caborn said:
“This is an excellent example of partners working together to support some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. It is the latest in a number of successful collaborations we’ve had with Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service, which has included the ‘Heart Shield’ programme and work to prevent child accidents in the county.
“The ‘Hospital to Home’ service is one more example of how different partners are working better together in Warwickshire to help people remain safe, healthy and independent, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact that it will have on Nuneaton residents.”
Councillor Andy Crump, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Fire, said: “This service is part of the wide range of work that our crews carry out to keep the public safe.
“It offers the chance to have a real impact on the lives of vulnerable residents as well as relieve pressures on the NHS, so I am delighted Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service is involved.”
A spokesperson for the George Eliot NHS Trust said: “The ‘Hospital to Home’ service is a great example of organisations working together for the good of local people.
“We are increasing our use of it each month and we welcome the support that the service gives to the safety and care of our patients.”