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Elderly at risk following hospital release

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Older people released from hospital without sufficient support are more than twice as likely to be readmitted to hospital within three months, according to a new report.

The Royal Voluntary Service, who released the report in association with The Kings Fund, found that thousands of readmissions could be prevented by offering older people more support when discharged from hospital. According to the report, almost 200,000 people over 75 have returned home from hospital without enough support to look after themselves.

Older people living alone are particularly vulnerable following a hospital stay, and they often have health conditions that require careful management. When surveyed, more than a quarter said they didn’t feel well enough to leave hospital, while 15% were anxious about returning to their home.

"The population is living longer, an achievement which should be celebrated - yet it is presenting a challenge for the very organisation that has helped people live longer lives," said Margaret Paterson, Royal Voluntary Service Director of Scotland.

As part of their ‘Let’s end going home alone’ campaign, Royal Voluntary Service has developed six essentials they believes every older person should be entitled to experience when they leave hospital. These include; a friendly face to turn to for help, coming home to a warm, well-lit house and help with shopping and cooking.

They found that providing this emotional and practical support to patients on their return from hospital can help people settle back in their homes, rebuild confidence and independence, and reduce the likelihood of readmission.

Speaking of the campaign, Minister for Care and Support Norman Lamb said he is committed to helping improve home care: “Our £5.3billion Better Care Fund will mean 163,000 fewer A&E visits next year and more people helped to live independently at home for longer after leaving hospital, giving older people the dignity they deserve,” he said.

Why I fear going into a care home, by Michael Palin, 71 Care at Home
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