As an increasingly resource-strapped NHS faces further pressures to manage demands resulting from an ever-aging UK population, the importance of enabling safe transition back home from hospital for the elderly has never been greater.
For both patients – particularly those who live alone, and their carers – often relatives with work and family responsibilities, the challenge of ensuring safe transition home from hospital for patients is placing an unprecedented burden upon occupational therapists whose work load is bordering on unsustainable. In a recent survey conducted by PPP Taking Care, 66% of occupational therapists reported that they were unable to commit enough time to the core part of their job; that of helping people transition following a hospital stay.
In recognition of the challenges faced by all, PPP Taking Care – leading UK technology-enabled care provider and subsidiary of AXA PPP healthcare – has launched a new ‘Home & Well’ service which aims to provide extended support and crucial peace-of-mind to users and those who care for them. The service includes a 24/7 personal alarm provision, 24/7 medical and medication help lines and regular check-in calls to ensure recovering patients are provided with essential support whenever they need it.
To enable users to recuperate at home without financial worries – the first six weeks of this service is free, and if they wish to continue, a discounted rate on the set-up of the personal alarm service is also included.
Lynn Walker, PPPTC said: “At a time when social care is pressed for time, budget and resources, we have identified the need for a service which could provide support in areas which are currently under strain and bursting at the seams. Our programme of support and in-home technology takes some of the pressure off occupational therapy and re-ablement teams who simply don’t have the capacity to deal with the volume of demand they are currently experiencing.”
The Royal College of Occupational Therapists last year identified vacancy rates of up to 40%, with particular pressure in the Capital. This, coupled with local authority budget cut targets of £824m in social care, is leading to delayed discharges from hospital which is hindering the recovery of mature patients.
Early return home from hospital has been proven to support quicker recovery, decrease risk of contracting infections and aids ongoing independence for the elderly to remain in their homes.
Lynn added: “Putting in place something as simple as a personal alarm service and support lines gives people the confidence to return home from hospital and also ensure they are safe and well in the process. Aiding independent living is very much at the heart of our services, as well as supporting occupational therapy staff, who are aiming to provide the necessary care and attention to patients.
“The new service provides the peace of mind for patients, staff and the families of those who are returning home from hospital and ensure that they make full and swift recoveries to their usual selves following the trauma of a hospital-level illness or injury.”