Home from Hospital Care was established in 1972 by the late Geraldine Amos MBE. We work to improve discharge planning and aftercare for patients returning home from health treatment, in order to optimise their chances of recovery.
Our voluntary Welcome Home Service receive referrals from nurses, therapists, social/care workers, both in hospital and in the community, general practitioners, carers or patients themselves. Our volunteers have a range of different qualifications and undertake tasks according to their abilities and location. References and Criminal Records checks are sought for all volunteers. We emphasise the importance of respecting confidentiality and of behaving sensitively towards patients and carers. We regularly hold training sessions covering relevant topics such as first aid, bereavement counselling, claiming benefits, etc.Apart from the Welcome Home Service, the charity’s other work includes development and research. For example, collecting and disseminating information concerning discharge planning and aftercare provision. This could be helpful to hospitals and other organisations, voluntary or statutory, who are considering their policy and practice in this field or who are setting up new schemes. We are proud to be partners with Birmingham City Council, which partly funds the Welcome Home Service. We also receive contributions from companies and trusts which, together with the fundraising activities of staff and volunteers, help to fund the service. The North Birmingham service was set up in January 2005, and the service was extended to Heartland Hospital in East Birmingham in January 2008. As from October 2012 we began operating from City hospital. We now offer a service through five hospitals to the whole of Birmingham.
Stroke is a sudden and devastating illness that occurs due to problems with the blood supply to the brain; either the blood supply is blocked or the blood within the brain is ruptured causing the brain tissue to die. This can cause overwhelming life changes in one’s life, however many people are unaware of its widespread impact. Mr. B has suffered a major stroke and is unable to live at home due to damage done to his property that has left a large hole in his roof. My colleague and I have supported Mr B in a holistic way as best as we can, (ongoing case), and have come to have a very good rapport with Mr B. We assured him that we were not there to judge but to support him in every possible way and for this reason he opened up and gave us a glimpse of his life and well- being.
Because of the complexity of this case different professional bodies were drafted in, regular meetings were held in several locations, social workers and all other relevant workers were informed every step of the way. Mr B is now registered homeless, his insurers will not take responsibility to fix his house due to wear and tear and asbestos is also reported to be found in the house as well making it uninhabitable. Due to Mr. B’s stroke, he might not be able to work again, he’s not sure how much longer he is entitled to the half of wages he is receiving at the moment, he has no savings and no friends of family to be supported by.
I have taken a holistic approach in supporting Mr. B in every way possible, supported him to open and close accounts via the telephone and at the bank, set up direct debts, took contractors to his house to get estimates for repairs, accompanied him home several times, to view properties and to visit housing officers or just sit and talk to him, held his hand when he stumbled, made sure he had eaten when hungry, laugh and cried with him. At times he appears lost and overwhelmed with the reality of his illness and losing his home, he is trying to come to terms with it.
In conclusion, most people with care needs will get help from their local authorities; however, if they are not sure how to access these services and/or also lack the capacity to do so there is a risk of future vulnerability and destitution. For this reason I believe the charity has made and will persist to make a positive impact on the lives of others we come in contact with on a week to week basic in supporting them. I continue to strive to do my utmost best and look forward to the journey ahead in making a difference.
As a volunteer I have often given people my personal telephone number to re-assure patients if on their own, that they have someone to call. Little did I realise just how important this simple act was.
I got a call from a very frantic elderly lady who was on holiday in Torquay with a lady I had worked with. She had collapsed in the street and an ambulance had been called, she rang me as my card was in the ladies purse.
I was able to give the ambulance driver a list of her conditions and medications and her daughters telephone number as she lives in France.
The hospital called me to say that she was on life support and could I let her daughter know as they had not been able to reach her.
I drove down to Torquay to be with this lady whilst she was on life support but also to support her friend who is also an elderly lady that she was having a short holiday with as she was alone and did not know what to do.
Sadly she passed away before her daughter could get over to England. I was honoured to be able to offer this service for a lady I was very fond of whilst I volunteering with her after a stay in hospital after a fall.
A man in Bartley Green was discharged from the Queen Elizabeth following a broken hip replacement, he lived alone in a sheltered housing scheme bungalow but with no warden on site. He was struggling to cope. He referred himself to us , an emergency food parcel was delivered, a volunteer allocated for help with shopping and befriending. He phoned the office after six weeks to say he did not know what he would have done without the support of Home from Hospital Care.
G was a child abused by both his parents, he was taken into care at the age of 8 years, lived in a children’s home until the age of 16 when he went to agricultural college. G has never married, he says he was frightened a wife might turn into the sort of woman his mother was, and has lived his whole life alone.
The HFHC co-ordinator first met G in hospital when delivering a food parcel for him to take home on discharge. On that first meeting G talked of his beloved cat which had recently died at the age of 17. It was obvious G was grieving.
The first visit at home G needed support to sort out a problem with a refurbished washing machine he had recently bought and had fitted which was leaking. The co-ordinator was able to contact the supplier and arrange an appointment later that day to have the leak mended. On this visit G again talked sadly of his cat.
On the second visit G was talking about his cat and the co-ordinator discussed with him how he would feel about another cat, G said it was all he wanted. The third visit the co-ordinator was able to tell G she had found a kitten which would be ready in a couple of weeks if he was interested. G stated he would like to have the kitten very much. The fourth visit G talked happily about the kitten and told the co-ordinator the name he had chosen.
The fifth visit was to deliver the kitten, along with the necessary tray, litter and food. ( G cried when given the kitten. ) A visit the following week showed all to be well, kitten and G thriving.
The next visit G had bought a cooker from the same supplier, the oven wasn’t working and he was sure the cooker delivered was not the cooker he chose. The co-ordinator phoned the supplier and arranged to take G to the shop, the co-ordinator was able to secure a better cooker at no extra cost to G, to be delivered and fitted the next day. The co-ordinator arranged a final visit for the following week.
G and kitten doing well. G’s whole demeanour improved and he appeared to be in better spirits from the moment the kitten was delivered. G was given details of a charity which will take care of the kitten if he is admitted back into hospital. The co-ordinator agreed to take G and the kitten to the PDSA when the time comes for her to be spayed. G has a contact number for HfHC to use if he has any problems.