Patients able to go home sooner thanks to Home First

Patient John Killeen is taken home using the Home First system, which is being piloted at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals. He is'pictured with; Kate Garton (physio), Sarah Stewart (technical instructor), Julie Ashworth and Amanda Cooper from Red Cross
Patient John Killeen is taken home using the Home First system, which is being piloted at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals. He is'pictured with; Kate Garton (physio), Sarah Stewart (technical instructor), Julie Ashworth and Amanda Cooper from Red Cross
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Patients are getting home from hospital sooner thanks to a pilot scheme which aims to free up bed spaces and reduce readmissions at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals.

The Home First system means medically stable people can be discharged from hospital and get the care they need at home.

Occupational therapist and physiotherapy manager, Charlotte Stubbs, who is also the clinical lead for the Home First initiative, said: “Home First allows medically stable patients to go home for assessment and get social care support.

“Home is better for the patient because you are taking them out of the hospital environment where they may be more susceptible to hospital borne infections and physical decline.”

With Home First, the Red Cross take the patient home where they meet a therapist who looks at how the patient copes with activities such as cooking, personal hygiene and going up or down stairs.

Prior to the Home First system the patient would have stayed in hospital awaiting the allocation of a care package and further assessment.

If a patient was taken home and the therapist believed they were not safe to cope, the hospital bed would be kept free for them for two hours so they could be returned to the ward.

Since the pilot started three months ago, it has helped 65 patients return home early.

Two had to be referred back to their hospital ward and two were transferred to Clifton Hospital for extra support.

The Home First package remains in place until a social worker takes over the ongoing care.

They do not necessarily have to be elderly, they could be an amputee, have multiple sclerosis, frailty or dementia.

Charlotte added: “We are all very passionate that home is where patients should be if they are medically able. The challenge for us is to co-ordinate the discharge in a safe and effective way.”