Published on: 30 October 2023
30 October 2023
Health and care partners across Herefordshire and Worcestershire have launched a new campaign that will see more patients leaving hospital earlier in the day, so they can be Home for Lunch.
Discharging patients earlier in the day, means patients can get home in daylight hours and has many benefits, it is brighter, warmer and safer to make that journey and get settled back into normal life. It also reduces risks of a fall or other injury, and research shows that prolonged stay in a hospital bed can have a significant negative impact on someone’s health.
For patients over the age of 80, a week in bed can lead to 10 years of muscle ageing. Furthermore, prolonged bed rest is thought to reduce the ability to walk independently for between 16- 65% of older people. There is also a greater risk of contracting in-ward viruses and infections.
Getting patients home earlier in the day will not only help to reduce their risk of harm, it will also help to free up capacity across the whole health and care system. Hospital wards will have space to receive patients in the afternoon, so more beds are available. Ambulances can offload patients sooner, so paramedics can then get back out into the community, rather than wait outside hospitals. All this means that staff can give the vital care to those that need it.
Dr Christine Blanshard, Chief Medical Officer for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, says: “Supporting the Home for Lunch campaign is an important part of a wider programme of work to ensure that none of our patients spends a minute longer in our hospitals than they need to.
“We know that keeping patients in an acute hospital bed when they no longer require acute hospital care can have a profound negative impact on their mental and physical wellbeing, as well as putting them at risk of hospital acquired infections or a greater risk of falls as a result of being in an unfamiliar environment.
“We want to take a Home First approach for all our patients. That includes a greater focus on helping them to stay well and avoid needing hospital treatment at all - and if they do need to come to hospital offering them same day care wherever possible so that they don’t need to be admitted. In familiar surroundings they are more easily able to maintain their physical and mental health and spend more time with their family, friends – even their pets.
“For those patients who do need to be admitted, our ward teams, supported by colleagues across the Trust, will be focussed on making sure that we get our them safely back home, or back to the place they call home, as soon as possible, and that is where Home For Lunch comes in. We are grateful for the support of our patients, and their families, for their support with this important initiative that will help them and also help us make sure that we have beds available for those patients most in need of them.”
David Allison, Associate Chief Operating Officer, Medical Division, for Wye Valley NHS Trust said: “We will be doing all we can to get our patients home in the morning, in daylight hours, which is important for many of our frail and elderly patients with cognitive impairment). It also enables timely community assessments in the afternoon to take place to ensure they receive the right support and ongoing care in their own homes.
“We also want relatives of patients to understand that an early discharge of their loved ones from hospital will not only benefit them, but it will also help our very sick patients who come in via ED and may need a bed urgently.
“Being in familiar surroundings with support from loved ones is one of the best things for mental wellbeing. Hospitals are unfamiliar and can be very confusing. Being in hospital for too long can reduce muscle capacity and reduce the ability to do routine things for yourself.”
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