NHS Campaign asks families to help ease pressure on hospitals

Staff at Whiston and St Helens hospitals are appealing to the public to help them keep their hospitals running this winter by launching a new ‘Home for Lunch’ campaign.

The aim is to help those patients who no longer need high levels of hospital care get Home for Lunch. This not only helps the hospitals free up space for new patients being admitted, but it also helps patients return home in a more comfortable and timely way.

There are many benefits to patients being discharged in the morning; leaving hospital in the day is safer, patients are more awake and can leave in daylight, plus shops, pharmacies and other services are open.

Staying in hospital longer than necessary is not in the patient’s best interests and being in their own home environment can greatly aid their recovery. Families and carers can play a big role in this and there’s lots they can do to help get their loved ones home from hospital.

Little things like doing a food shop, turning the heating on and arranging transport and clothes to leave the hospital can all make a big difference. Getting involved in conversations about their relative’s care at an early stage can help make the return home go smoothly.

Sue Redfern, director of nursing, said: “No one wants to be in hospital for longer than they need to be and home definitely is the best place for a patient’s ongoing recovery.

Sometimes there are delays that mean patients don’t leave the hospital until late in the day, but this means that patients waiting in the emergency department cannot move up to a ward and the whole system slows down.

If we can free up beds early in the day, then we can help everyone to have a much better experience. Our staff are working hard to continue to improve our systems, and we need patients, their families and carers to help too.”

Top tips to help your loved one get Home for Lunch:

•  Make arrangements to be available at the time of discharge

•  Arrange transport and bring clothes for them to leave hospital in

•  Inform staff as early as possible about any additional help that may be needed

•  Make the home comfortable for the patient’s return

•  Rally the troops to help out around the home, if the patient needs additional support for a short time

•  Put the heating on ready

•  Stock up on favourite foods

•  Help the patient with any medications they might need

Home for Lunch is part of a wider campaign Let’s Do It Together, asking people to think carefully about how they use NHS services this winter and to help ease the increasing pressure that inevitably comes with the cold weather and festive season.

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