The local NHS in Coastal West Sussex is working together this winter to make sure that patients spend no longer than they need to in hospital.
The Let’s Get You Home initiative will support people to return home quickly and safely, or if this is not possible, to move to a care home or supported housing once treatment in hospital is complete.
This will help Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester have beds available for people who need them, especially through the winter when more people are ill or have accidents.
It will involve staff having earlier conversations with patients – usually within 24 hours of being admitted – about how they will leave and being given clear information about the choices available.
Hospital staff and local council adult services teams will be working more closely with each other to ensure patients have the care and support they need to return home (or go into a care home or supported housing if they can’t go home).
There will also be more assessments on people’s long-term care needs taking place in their own homes, where they can be assessed more accurately, rather than in hospital.
All of this is aimed at helping people to recover better outside of a hospital when they are well enough to leave.
There is a lot of evidence to show that patients recover better away from hospital.
For example, ten days of bed rest in hospital leads to the equivalent of ten years ageing in the muscles of people over 80, but people of all ages will suffer from muscle wastage whilst they are in hospital.
Patients may also become used to living in hospital, leaving them less able to manage in their own homes.
In addition, hospitals work hard to prevent infections but can’t eliminate the risk of a patient catching one which they may be ill-equipped to resist.
Marianne Griffiths, chief executive of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The aim of the campaign is simple: to ensure that patients avoid staying in hospital any longer than they need to.
“There is a lot of evidence to show that, once their treatment in hospital is complete, patients recover better at home or in a more appropriate care setting for their needs.”
There will be leaflets available on both hospital sites – Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester – for patients and families to explain the initiative, the conversations that will take place, and the options available for local people outside of hospital.
It comes as the local NHS also runs its #HelpMyNHS campaign this winter to provide information about where you can get NHS help and advice over the festive season.
The winter campaign also offers help and tips on how everyone can #HelpMyGP and #HelpMyA&E to use services appropriately and take steps to stay well.