Help us help you – bring a loved one home for Christmas

Dr Elizabeth Fellows, a local GP and Urgent Care Clinical Lead for Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport and South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), talks about the importance of helping hospital patients get back home for Christmas.

Each year, hundreds of patients spend Christmas Day in QA hospital; while this may be the right place for many, for most it is the last place they want to be.

We know how important it is for people to be back home with family, friends and neighbours at Christmas which is why we’re doing everything we can to make this happen. It can also help them recover more quickly in comfortable surroundings with family and friends.

It’s a real team effort with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and lots of others working together to make sure everyone who is well enough can leave hospital and be home for Christmas.

And you can help us too. If you have a family member, a friend or a neighbour in QA, there are things you can do to support their discharge from hospital including:

  • staying in contact with the ward they are on so everyone is clear on the expected date of discharge;
  • supporting with any necessary arrangements to provide suitable clothing and shoes for the patient and understanding their ongoing medication needs;
  • helping with their transport home; if you can help take a relative, friend or neighbour home when they are ready to leave QA it helps them get home more quickly and it helps the NHS, too. Whilst there is NHS funded transport for some patients, is it really there to be used only for those who have no alternative or who are going on to another NHS or social care service.

And little things like popping some milk and food in their fridge, turning on the heating in their home and checking for trip/fall hazards like trailing cables and rugs can make all the difference, too.

All these things can help patients leaving hospital get back in their own homes more smoothly and in time to celebrate Christmas.

And remember there’s still a range of health help and advice available to you and your loved ones over the Christmas and New Year period should you need it. Follow any advice provided to the patient on discharge first but if you are unsure what to do call the patient’s GP surgery or NHS 111.

Some pharmacies will be open during the bank holidays, so take a look here if you think you might need one.

And our urgent care guide here can help point you in the right direction if you need other help.

If you are able to help, thank you from us all, and have a really happy and healthy Christmas.

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