What was the issue you were addressing or working on?
The British Red Cross Neighbourhood Links and Buddies service provides support to people with low level social needs by assisting them to re-engage with their community and provides them with information to enable them to better manage their day to day activities.
The project supports both people in existing community settings as well as those requiring safe early discharge from hospital through helping clients to re-settle in their homes following an episode in hospital or intermediate care.
What you did?
Supporting early discharge involves the use of a ‘Red Cross Buddy’ to take patients home, making sure it is ready for their arrival (for example by ensuring the heating is on, that there is a stock of initial supplies such as bread and milk) and then visiting them regularly (initially daily) to support them in getting back the confidence to live in their own home.
The project accepts referrals from a wide range of sources including social work, community hospitals, discharge liaison, mental teams as well as other voluntary organisations and self/family referral.
The project currently employs 5 Service Co-ordinators working a total of 145 hours per week and managing a total of 78 volunteers who provide an average of 190 hours input to clients per week. All volunteers have PVG clearance and training in; first aid; safeguarding adults at risk; lone working; basic moving and handling and infection control, including basic food safety and hygiene training in order to help clients with meal preparation.
What were the outcomes - benefits or otherwise?
The feedback from the service providers, users and Hospital staff demonstrates the positive outcomes this service has had for all involved, importantly it also demonstrates how it supports the more cost effective use of scare hospital resources through helping to avoid delayed discharges and freeing up hospital beds.
Click here to read stories from users of the Neighbourhood Links and Red Cross Buddies service.
Contacts - to find out more
Lindsay S Wilson, Service Manager, Health and Social Care, LSWilson@redcross.org.uk