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When you’re in hospital, all you want is to get better and go home. But for many older people, being discharged means going back to an empty home and isolation. Many of them have a fall or health relapse and end up right back in hospital. The figure for such readmissions has risen by 70% in the last ten years.
 
This is why Horsforth Live at Home started the HomeWard project together with the British Red Cross, with support from Leeds City Council. Volunteers from the two charities meet older people at home or in hospital to give them the support they need as they recover. A chat and some company, help with shopping or daily chores, all those simple everyday things that help a person recover both physically and mentally after a stay in hospital.
 
Since launching in May, we’ve had over 30 referrals from hospitals, social workers, GPs and hospital patients themselves. We’ve also got about 25 volunteers who are getting training to help them feel confident and supported in what they’re doing. A number of them are former health professionals, which is very handy. Isolation is a terrible problem for many older people leaving hospital, but our befrienders, lunch clubs, outings and activities make sure they don’t feel that they are alone.
 
There will be more referrals when winter comes, so we’re prepared. Leaving hospital is just one step on a person’s road to recovery. We’re there to help them all the way.
 
Tracy Brierly
 
Manager, Horsforth Live at Home

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