Medway has changed the way they support patients leaving hospital and returning to the community.
The “Home First” approach will ensure that every patient who has completed their hospital treatment and is medically fit, but still requires additional support at home, will be able to return home safely and with the right support in place.
Under Home First, once a patient is assessed as medically fit to leave hospital, staff will discharge the patient by calling a central Home First number. To support their return home, each patient will be given a home assessment within two hours of their discharge. This will include a personal care plan for their therapy, goals, carer provision and any equipment that they require.
Amanda Gibson, Medway Maritime Hospital Lead Matron for Discharge, and a member of the Home First project team said: “For patients who have been in hospital having treatment, we understand that leaving hospital can be unsettling. That’s why we have worked so closely with our community health and social care partners to work on a solution that fits around the needs of the patient.
“Our priority is to ensure that every patient who is discharged goes home with the right support in place. This approach will allow patients to get back to their lives in a safe and supported way, freeing up vital hospital beds and resources.”
Project lead Lisa Sladden of Medway Community Healthcare said: “Home First represents a successful partnership between Medway NHS Foundation Trust, Medway Council and Medway Community Healthcare (MCH) to make sure that each patient has the support they need to make the transition from hospital to home.
“We know that most people would rather recover at home than in hospital, wherever possible. And getting back to our lives and our routines is an essential part of that recovery. It helps us to regain independence, and allows us to receive care in a comfortable and familiar environment. Home First aims to help patients to do that by engaging community partners across Medway.”
Diana Smith, 68 from Gillingham, was discharged using Home First and has been going from strength to strength. She said: “I have been so impressed with how smoothly the process with Home First has gone. Shortly after I got back home, I was met by my occupational therapist and she made sure that I had the equipment and extra care I needed in order to get about my day.
“I have been continually supported by a wonderful team of experts - which has really helped me to gain back my confidence and independence - I couldn’t have asked for better care”.
The Home First approach ensures that patients have a smoother journey from hospital back into their home. It also helps to ease demand on hospital beds and staff and makes better use of community services.