Helping those coming home from hospital

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all those people who responded to our urgent appeal for volunteers to get people home from hospital.

They are now poised to help support their neighbours in their communities when they need it most and where they need it most – in the comfort of their own homes.

It has long been known that patients recover more quickly when they are at home, away from the hustle and bustle of a busy hospital because being in familiar surroundings is both more comforting and less stressful.

In every hospital, including here in Torbay there are people lying in beds that technically do not need to be there, the doctors and nursing staff have done all they can, and all they need now is time to get back up and running.

But they have no one at home, no support network to ensure that all is ready for their return which can be as simple as moving a bit of furniture around, turning on the heating or stocking up the cupboards with fresh food.

They may also need someone to drive them to and from the hospital for follow-up appointments because getting a bus is just not possible or taking a cab is simply too expensive. They might also just need a friendly face to pop in and out to check things are going well and to provide a bit of much-needed company.

Unkind politicians used to call it bed blocking, a derogatory term for someone who is in hospital through no fault of their own and has no one waiting for them when they get home, and their support network might be miles away or sadly non-existent.

It is one thing planning a trip to the hospital when an appointment has been made, the patient has time to prepare, but there is only so much that can be done when there is no one waiting for you when you finally return.

The vast majority of home-from-hospital patients need only the basics to allow them to come home, the food, the transport, and the company, but there are those that will need more and via the Torbay Community Helpline, we can make sure that support is in place, not just in the short term but ongoing.

In recent months, we have, with the help of our volunteers, managed to get a couple back into their own home from separate wards of the hospital allowing them to spend time together in the place they knew, loved, and cherished.

On another occasion, we assembled a team of volunteers to move and indeed remove furniture to allow a man who needed a hospital bed to be able to get home to spend his remaining time with his family. It was what he wanted, and our big-hearted caring team made it possible.

As with all our volunteering opportunities you can sign up at www.volunteertorbay.com where a world of opportunities awaits, or you can browse www.devonconnect.org/torbay. Alternatively, you can of course call the Helpline on 01803 446022.

Rest assured there are always people out there that need help and support and there is a good chance they are in your community perhaps even in your street or neighbourhood.  What is more and it is a sobering thought, one day it could be you.

We are proud of all our volunteers, not just those who provide help and support through Torbay Communities, but those that work tirelessly for organisations and groups across the Bay. So many things would simply not happen without this dedicated and caring group of people.

Starting next month, I will again be working with local media to celebrate all things volunteering, writing about them, praising them to the heavens and shouting about their great work from the rooftops.

I will also be hosting a weekly three-hour radio programme on Riviera 107.9 FM where I will interview volunteers and talk to the groups that use them to find out just how important they are. Ultimately, we also hope to be able to pull together a community awards evening to celebrate, praise and thank them all.

If you have a story about a volunteer that you think needs sharing, or someone you want to thank for something they have done or continue to do for you then please get in touch with me, David Gledhill via my email [email protected].


Image by mrsiraphol on Freepik

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