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Age UK Bolton 

Pip Edwards, Home from Hospital Manager

In what situation did you meet the person?

Age UK Bolton offers a free service to support older people who live alone (or are the main carer of another) when they come out of hospital after a stay on the wards or a visit to A&E.

The service is aimed at supporting older people make a safe discharge from hospital and provide them with the practical and emotional support they need to recover at home and was developed in partnership with Bolton NHS Foundation Trust Hospital and Senior Solutions.

For many people, the transitional period of recovery at home following a stay in hospital can leave them feeling at their most vulnerable and many people are at risk of being re-admitted to hospital or needing a crisis care intervention. The Home from Hospital team of staff and volunteers ensure that people are not left to struggle and cope alone by providing low-level practical and emotional support for a period of up to six weeks. This might include; ensuring that there is a sufficient supply of basic food, making and clearing away light snacks, organising home delivery of ready meals, checking that people are keeping up their fluid intake and taking their medication. The team also signpost and refer and liaise with other agencies and provide encouragement to older people to help them regain independence and confidence.

How did you raise the issue of diet and/or weight loss?

The Home from Hospital Service receives referrals from the hospital as well as community health care teams. Clients are seen within 24 hours of discharge and a home assessment is completed. During the home assessment questions are asked about the health and wellbeing of the client so that it can be established which community teams and services they may need referring to. A client often will disclose that they have reduced appetite since being unwell. This then prompts a discussion of the ‘Are You Eating Enough’ booklet, coordinators will sit with the client and discuss the content of the booklet and also discuss daily fluid intake.

Examples of where the intervention has been successful:

Client A had lost weight while in hospital and was supported on discharge by the Home from Hospital Team, where discussion on nutrition and hydration was facilitated.  The client, supported by the Integrated Neighbourhood Team, also mentioned to a practitioner how useful she found the conversation on improving appetite and intake to re-build strength and regain independence. The client has since been buying high calorie food and ensures she has at least 6-8 drinks a day.

Client B had lost weight on discharge from hospital and was given advice from the Home from Hospital Team about how to regain and manage their weight using some of the information in the ‘Are you Eating Enough’ booklet. In a later meeting, the client’s daughter fed back how useful her father had found the information from the booklet and how she had also been using this to help with ideas for high calorie food to buy when shopping for her dad. The client’s daughter has also been buying squash and fruit teas to encourage her dad to have at least 6-8 drinks a day.

What difference has this made?

Discussing the ‘Are You Eating Enough booklet’ with clients has been beneficial to many of the Home from Hospital Service clients. Many of the clients have appreciated the information given from the booklet and it has made them re-evaluate their diet and food and fluid intake.