[T]he Eden Independent Living (EIL) Service provided by Eden Housing Association (EHA) has relaunched the Eden Rehabilitation Project, designed to help patients get home from hospital as quickly as possible with support on hand if needed. The Eden Rehabilitation Project will provide a free of charge care alarm and emergency response package for up to 13 weeks once a patient is discharged from hospital and is being funded by Eden District Council for a year.
The Rehabilitation Project was first introduced by in 2013 when some of the start-up costs were funded by Rotary Clubs, enabling patients to use the package free of charge for a six week period.
In the past four years over 200 people have used the service, but projections for the coming year indicate a much higher demand. Kath Hetherington, Development Manager for the Eden Independent Living Service has been working with Eden District Council to assess the need for the coming year and to secure funding.
Kath said “The project was specifically designed to help patients get home as soon as possible following an illness or trauma (e.g. fall) and a period in hospital. The security, confidence and peace of mind that a care alarm and an emergency response service provide are invaluable, and we know from past experience that getting back home is a great step on the road to recovery. Importantly, it also frees up much needed hospital beds. According to recent figures, around 5 per cent of hospital beds in the NHS are taken up by people who do not need to be there but have nowhere else to go because of a lack of social care, so anything we can do to prevent bed blocking is a real help.
“We approached Eden District Council with our plans and they were very enthusiastic, seeing the benefits immediately. They have also agreed to fund the service for an extended period. Patients can now access this service for up to 13 weeks free of charge, which makes a real difference. We are now working to ensure all professionals are aware of the extended service and that they know how easy it is to make referrals.”
Most of the EIL referrals come from hospital discharges from the Cumberland Infirmary and community hospitals in Penrith, Alston and Keswick – but they also receive referrals from Eden Valley Hospice, Macmillan nurses, Penrith Day Hospice and various third sector organisations.
Kath continued “We relaunched the new Eden Rehabilitation Project on 1st June and are keen to speak to any professionals who may be able to refer patients to us. More than half of our referrals come from the Eden Community Assessment Team, but we are also keen to engage more with GP surgeries and hospitals.”
Once a referral is made, the EIL team will visit the patient at the earliest opportunity when they are home, to install a care alarm and explain how the emergency response service works. At the end of the prescribed period, the patient has the choice of return the care alarm where the package will be cancelled, OR… alternatively, they can pay for the service to be continued.
Lesley Grisedale, Eden District Council Deputy Leader and Property and Health Portfolio Holder said “This project is a very practical way of helping health care staff in the hospital discharge planning process as well as the professional teams in the community and family carers who support patients.
“It gives the patient independence at home and provides reassurance for both the user and their family. With the growing older population in Eden, we anticipate the need for around 80 packages of support this year. After discussions with EIL it was clear that to maximise the benefit to patients and the health care system, a period beyond 6 weeks care would be more beneficial – we have extended the care packages to 13 weeks to provide the best support possible. Anything that can be done to prevent bed blocking and helping people return home as soon as possible will make a real difference. ”
Anyone looking to find out more about the Eden Rehabilitation Project should contact the EIL team on 01768 890657 or visit www.eil.org.uk