Help us, help you get better at home

Health and care agencies across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are asking the public to be ready to support their loved ones as soon as they are ready to leave hospital and to help them stay well at home.

This national lockdown is having a positive effect, with the number of new cases of coronavirus starting to fall. While this is reason to be optimistic, services remain under considerable pressure.

This demand means more than ever that every hospital bed is needed for those who are extremely medically unwell, and because of this, more people are being supported to move into the community for their ongoing rehabilitation.

The priority is still ensuring people are discharged safely to continue their recovery and, once a doctor has advised they are well enough to leave, clinicians will discuss the details of their discharge with individuals and a family member if they wish.

The best bed is always your own in terms of recovery and retaining independence and this is why family support is also vital at this time.

As well as following the national guidance, local health and community care services are asking the public to ‘help us help you’, by:

  • Being ready to support loved ones home from hospital as soon as they are well enough to leave.
  • Not putting aside health concerns. GPs (doctors) continue to provide appointments for potentially serious concerns, and pharmacists can offer a range of support for minor conditions.
  • Clicking or calling 111 for urgent care. Emergency Departments are very busy, and there is less space in waiting rooms than before. A new 111 First service is staffed by clinicians, who will ensure people get to the right service, faster.
  • Only use A&E or call 999 in the event of serious and life-threatening emergencies.

Cathy Daffada, one of three Access and Flow Leads for Sirona care & health, whose role is focussed on supporting people to leave hospital as soon as they are safe to do so, said:

“People have been doing a phenomenal job throughout the pandemic in looking out for neighbours, relatives, and the frail and elderly. While we have strong processes in place to manage the increase in demand, we’re calling on the public to help too.

“We are asking people to be ready to collect their loved ones from hospital as soon as they are medically fit to leave and to continue to check on what vulnerable relatives might need to stay well at home.

“It’s more important than ever that our hospital beds are available for those who really need them.”

Dr Richard Berkley, local GP at Orchard Medical Centre in Kingswood, said:

“Local GPs are working closely with our colleagues in hospitals and in the community to enable discharge from hospital as soon as this is clinically appropriate. This means that we are having to work slightly differently in GP surgeries for the next few weeks.

“In addition to supporting discharge, we would ask you to help us by considering self-care options before getting in touch with your surgery – visit your GP practice website which contains lots of information about how to do this. If you have a minor illness, please contact your pharmacy first.

“GP surgeries are open, so it is important that anyone with urgent or potentially serious problems continues to contact us.

“Finally, I would like to remind patients not to contact their GP surgery about their COVID vaccination. We can assure you that the NHS has your contact details and will be in touch when it’s your turn.”Organisations including the British Red Cross, We Care & Repair and the Home from Hospital Partnership are working collaboratively to provide non-medical support for people returning home after a hospital stay.

Michelle Phillips, British Red Cross Service Manager for BNSSG First Call service, said:

“We had someone referred to us who had been in hospital for around 3 weeks but when they arrived home after being discharged, they had no heating. Our Red Cross First Call service sent a support worker to visit the property and helped to turn the gas back on. The team also called that individual twice over the weekend to check the heating had stayed on and there were no other issues or concerns.”

With this support, all health and social care services can ensure everyone who needs a hospital bed or community support can be helped during this difficult time.