Flourishing hospital support services

Since December 2018, Age UK Northamptonshire staff have been working at Kettering General Hospital to support elderly patients, helping to improve their experience whilst they are in hospital and supporting their discharge and return home. The service has been so positively received that it expanded to Northampton General Hospital in April 2019.

The teams of twenty two staff members in Kettering and five staff members in Northampton cover seven days a week between 9am and 10pm. They work in adult care wards across both hospitals such as Accident and Emergency in Kettering, the Discharge Suite, and many of the Elderly Care wards.

Imagine being confined to the ward, with nothing to brighten the day. Age UK Northamptonshire Support Workers can take patients to the gardens in a wheelchair, or perhaps break the monotony with a trip to the hospital shop or café. Even having someone to keep a patient company, by chatting to them, doing a puzzle or playing a simple game can make a difference in a long and monotonous day.

Age UK Northamptonshire staff also play an important role at mealtimes, helping to feed patients or cut up food for those who cannot manage this for themselves. They make sure that water jugs have fresh water and help volunteers with the drinks trolley.

Being in hospital can be a daunting experience, and the Age UK Northamptonshire Support Workers help to reduce anxiety. It might be liaising with medical staff to get questions answered or contacting relatives on behalf of the patient. The teams provide or source information about what might be available to support a patient once they’ve been discharged.

The Age UK Northamptonshire mini buses have also been helping to speed up discharges for a small number of patients. Staff have been able to follow patients home in a taxi and help them to settle in back at home, making sure the heating is on, and essential provisions are in place. For other patients, all they need is the taxi phoning; a small but significant task. Sometimes a hospital discharge can be delayed because of something as simple as waiting for a prescription or a discharge letter. The team makes sure these things are placed perhaps more speedily than they might have been without Age UK Northamptonshire’s help.

The Accident and Emergency Manager at Kettering General said:

“What you are doing is fantastic for patients and the hospital. Thank you to you all.”

For more information visit www.ageuknorthants.org.uk