Laura Barnes.jpgA call has gone out to relatives, friends and neighbours who can help get homes ready for patients who have been in hospital.

Many patients are in a position where they are medically fit to be discharged but can’t go home because of issues in their home, such as burst pipes.

Laura Barnes, Transfer of Care Hub Lead Therapist at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are seeing a number of hospital discharges that are delayed because of issues with properties.

“Sometimes when a next of kin, friends or neighbours are going to the properties to do pre-discharge checks, they are finding issues such as burst pipes because the heating has not been on for some time.

“This continues to be an issue for patients who have been in hospital over the cold spell.

 “We are asking friends and relatives to make sure the home the patient is returning to following a stay in hospital is warm and comfortable with food in the fridge.

“Regular checking of homes will help your loved one get back to their home comforts without an unnecessary delay.”

Here we have some tips and advice as to how you can make life easier for your relative, friend or neighbour to return home:

  • Make sure everything they may need is easy to get to and on the same floor where they will spend most of their time.
  • Set up the bed on the ground floor (or the entry floor) if you can.
  • Have a bathroom or a portable commode on the same floor where they will spend most of their day.
  • Stock up on canned or frozen food, toilet paper, shampoo, and other personal items.
  • Either buy or make single meals that can be frozen and reheated.
  • Make sure they can reach everything they need without over-reaching or bending down.
  • Put food and other supplies in a cupboard that is between waist and shoulder level.
  • Place glasses, silverware, and other items they use often on the kitchen counter.
  • Make sure they can access their phone. A mobile phone is best.
  • Place a chair with a firm back in the rooms they will use. This way, they can sit when completing daily tasks.
  • If they will be using a walker, consider a caddy attachment to hold their phone, a notepad, a pen, and other things they will need to have close by. 
  • Ensure they have appropriate clothing and footwear in hospital with them, especially to wear on the day of discharge.