Are your loved-ones coming home from hospital for the New Year?

by Dr Barbara Rushton, Hampshire GP

There’s no place like home. And that’s especially true when we are talking about recovering from being unwell, particularly if it has meant a spell in hospital over Christmas. 

So we are doing all we can to help your loved-ones to get better by helping them leave hospital as soon as they are ready so that they can recover more quickly in comfortable and familiar surroundings – especially at the start of a new year with 2022 just a few days away. 

It's a real team effort with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and lots of others working together to ensure everyone who is well enough can leave hospital and avoid an unnecessary stay. 

And you can help us too. If you are a family member, friend or a neighbour there are things you can do to help when your loved one is ready to leave hospital including:

  • staying in contact with the ward they are on so everyone is clear on the expected date of discharge - we know this has been harder recently given restrictions on visiting but being clear when to expect them home is really important
  • making sure they have any medication and discharge letters or advice they need
  • supporting with any necessary arrangements to provide suitable clothing and shoes for the patient when they leave hospital and understanding their ongoing medication needs
  • helping with their transport home; if you can help take a relative, friend or neighbour home when they are ready to leave hospital it helps them get home more quickly and it helps the NHS, too.

Little things like popping some milk and food in their fridge, turning on the heating in their home and checking for trip/fall hazards like trailing cables and rugs can make all the difference, too. 

All these things can help patients leaving hospital get back in their own homes more smoothly so that they can continue their recovery in familiar surroundings. 

It also means that we can ensure that the hospital is able to support other patients who may be in urgent need of a hospital bed. 

Thank you for helping us help you, and your loved one, friend or relative at this busy time.

I hope you have a healthy and a happy new year as possible.