With two young children, I frequently write about issues affecting the younger element of society. It makes a refreshing change, therefore, to write about an issue affecting older people, namely the Royal Voluntary Service’s ‘Let’s End Going Home Alone’ campaign.
It’s a very simple campaign. It exists to highlight the lack of support available for those in their senior years that are discharged from hospital. The infographic below goes into more detail.
This is an issue that I can relate to. I have an aunt, a wonderful woman in her seventies who lives alone about 100 miles away. About two months ago she went to visit another aunt of mine in the West Country. While there she fell over and broke her wrist. Unable to drive and with no one at home to look after her, she has remained in the West Country. Although she is pining to get back to her own house, she at least has the support of her sister plus nieces and nephews.
Not everyone of this age group is so lucky (if luck is the word to use about an aunt with a broken wrist). In collaboration with health charity The King’s Fund, the Royal Voluntary Service has conducted research into the support the UK’s 5.1 million over 75s receive when they’re discharged from in-patient care. It discovered that;
- over the past year, 38% of those aged 75 and over had a spell in hospital and subsequently returned home
- of these, 26% did not feel ready to go home and
- 13% returned to hospital within three months.
The Royal Voluntary Service believes that providing better home from hospital support could save the National Health Service over £40million a year by reducing the number of readmissions. The charity, which famously changed its name a few years ago from Women’s Royal Voluntary Service in deference to the fact it also recruits male volunteers, is already running a scheme called Home From Hospital. It provides incredibly simple yet effective support by;
- helping individuals home after a stay in hospital
- putting the heating to ensure they come back to a warm property
- ensuring there’s a supply of basics like milk and bread
- providing lifts to medical appointments and
- checking in on the patient for six weeks after the return home while they recover.
The infographic below highlights the main issues and facts to have come out of the research. It looks like a great scheme and one I’m happy to support as I recognise that some people just don’t have family and friends living nearby. You can find out more about the campaign and how to volunteer yourself by clicking on the RVS link just under the image.
Let’s End Going Home Alone – An infographic by the team at RVS (Royal Voluntary Service).