A joint initiative between the Careline Community Service and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, launched on 1 September 2019, has already helped 3 local residents return home from hospital sooner.
‘I’m going home’ has been developed by the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk to help provide services, free and at speed, which will enable patients to return home safely.
Hospital staff involved with discharging patients can refer them to the ‘I’m going home’ service. This means a ‘Buddy Button’ will be provided, free of charge, for six weeks while the patient gets settled back at home. The ‘Buddy Button’ is a communication device which enables patients to summon help just by pressing the button. The device also has GPS tracking so if a patient is confused or lost they can be found and assisted.
Tim Rees, Professional Lead Occupational Therapist, said: “Returning home from hospital can be very stressful for patients not just because of their health, but also because of environmental factors which may lead to isolation or fear of being able to cope. The ‘buddy button’ provides that additional reassurance both for the individual and for their families and reduces anxiety all round.”
Patients are assessd before being referred to this service, but once referred, set up is quick and easy, with no need for a landline. This enables patients to return home speedily where their recovery is likely to be quicker.
Cllr Adrian Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Housing at the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, said: “We developed this project with the hospital as we understand the need to get people home quickly. The benefit is two-fold as getting home can speed up a patient’s recovery as they are in their own familiar surroundings and it frees up vital bedspace. The ‘Buddy Button’ gives patients and their families extra confidence, that they are safe. They know help is at hand if they need it, without having to find a number to make a call. All they need to do is press the button.”
After the six-week period, residents who wish to retain the ‘Buddy Button’ service would need to sign up for the paid-for Careline service. Full details about the Careline service are available at careline-cs.org.uk or call 01553 616200.