Our local hospitals are very busy and their teams are working hard to make sure everyone can receive the best possible care.
Over Christmas there were more people in the A&E departments at some hospitals than ever before, and there continues to be an increase in the number of people admitted needing medical attention.
To make sure everyone can receive the help and support they need, the local NHS in West Sussex is working together to make sure that patients spend no longer than they need to in hospital.
The Let’s Get You Home initiative supports people to return home quickly and safely, or if this is not possible, to move to an alternative setting, such as a care home or a community rehabilitation bed, once treatment in hospital is complete.
This will help hospitals have beds available for people who need them, especially through the winter when more people are ill or have accidents.
It will involve staff having earlier conversations with patients – usually within 24 hours of being admitted – about how they will leave hospital and being given clear information about the options available.
Hospital staff and local council adult services teams will be working more closely with each other to ensure patients have the care and support they need to return home or go to an alternative setting if they can’t go home.
There will also be more assessments on people’s long-term care needs taking place in their own homes, where they can be assessed more accurately, rather than in hospital.
All of this is aimed to help people to recover better outside of a hospital when they are well enough to leave.
There is good evidence to show that patients recover better away from hospital. For example, ten days of bed rest in hospital leads to the equivalent of 10 years ageing in the muscles of people over 80.
Patients may also become used to hospital life, leaving them less confident to manage in their own homes.
In addition, hospitals work hard to prevent infections but can’t eliminate the risk of a patient catching one which they may be ill-equipped to resist.
Marianne Griffiths, Chief Executive of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust says: “The aim of the campaign is simple: to ensure that patients avoid staying in hospital any longer than they need to.
“There is a lot of evidence to show that, once their treatment in hospital is complete, patients recover better at home or in a more appropriate care setting for their needs.”
There will be leaflets available at hospitals for patients and families to explain the initiative, the conversations that will take place, and the options available for local people outside of hospital.
It comes as the local NHS also runs its #HelpMyNHS campaign this winter which the county council is supporting to provide information about where you can access NHS help and advice over the festive season. It also offers help and tips on how everyone can #HelpMyGP and #HelpMyA&E and use services appropriately and take steps to stay well.