Close to Hand was recently invited to meet with the Rehabilitation Team at Crowborough Hospital to discuss ways in which we could offer support and companionship to older patients after they’d been discharged from hospital.
It was a privilege to be given the opportunity to demonstrate how our online service works to a team of healthcare professionals dedicated to encouraging independent living amongst our older communities.
Post-op support at home
We spoke of the benefits of extra help at home following an operation or a spell in hospital and how an unexpected injury or illness can have a profound effect on a person’s mobility and self-confidence at any age. There was an acknowledgement amongst us that older people want to defend their independence and so can often be reluctant to ask for and accept help.
A gentle approach
I was able to give examples of how concerned relatives and neighbours could use Close to Hand as a gentle introduction to homecare. The service aims to fill the need for ad hoc, flexible help that often doesn’t involve professional care, but companionship and a little helping hand with small jobs around the house, shopping and going on errands etc.
I explained that the Close to Hand model gives members choice and complete control to gradually build up the time and days a Home Helper is called on to suit their growing needs. That way they can see the benefits for themselves without making any initial commitment. Home Helpers tend to start out offering one-off support over a set period and then build strong longer-term relationships with those they help.
Being there for older people before they reach crisis point
There was a general nodding of heads in the room when I made the point that older people could more easily avoid a steep decline in their health and independence if they reached out for help before they hit a crisis. Close to Hand was set up to address this issue and promote independent living for older people by connecting local people there to offer support.
The team at Crowborough could see the benefits of uniting communities in this way; they gave positive feedback of Close to Hand’ s aim of enabling people to build a local network of contacts to be there when their families were at work or if they’d moved away.
We’d love to spread the word and speak to more community hospitals. Please get in contact if you can introduce us to community workers and healthcare professions who maybe interested to learn more.