Hundreds of patients across Kent are now receiving care at home who would normally have stayed in hospital, thanks to Home First.
Under Home First, hospital staff work closely with colleagues in the community and in social care to plan for a patient to return home from the first day they arrive.
Some patients, may not need any help when they get home, but for those who do, Home First teams are triggered into action on discharge to make sure the right support is in place.
What does the Home First Team do?
Patients are seen at home within hours and receive an assessment by a Home First Team, made up of community nurses, therapists and social care professionals. Every patient has a personal care plan and this may include therapy, goals, support for carers, any equipment they may need and self-help advice.
What if the patient needs more support before going home?
For patients who are unable to manage at home, short-term rehabilitation is provided in a community hospital. For example, in west Kent, patients are rehabilitated in an eight-bed therapy ward at Tonbridge Cottage Hospital.
Some people have complex needs and need longer-term care. We provide a robust assessment, before coming to a decision, with them and their families, to move them to longer-term residential care or continuing healthcare.
Where possible, we also assess patients in the community and provide appropriate care to avoid people going into the hospital at all.
Who is involved?
Home First relies on Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and Kent County Council, working more closely together, as well as involving our voluntary and community sector partners more effectively.
Lesley Strong, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive KCHFT, said: “When you are really sick, hospital is the best place you can be, but once you no longer need hospital care, you recover much faster at home.
“The longer someone spends in a hospital bed, the more muscle they lose and the weaker they can become, which makes it harder for them to regain their independence. so, as soon as they no longer need hospital care, we want to get them home.
“For patients who need short-term support, we know assessing them in their own environment is best to see how they are coping and what extra support they might need.
“By working closely together with our acute and social care colleagues and involving the support of our voluntary and community sector partners, we can make sure patients, families and carers are properly supported at home to help them or their loved one recover quickly. This scheme will also help to free up vital hospital beds for people who really need them.”
Janice Duff, Kent County Council’s Assistant Director for Older People and Physical Disability, said: “We have increase the support available from social care and are working closely with our colleagues in health to provide a seamless approach to getting people home and supporting them back to independence.”
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