Charity funds discharge bags for elderly and vulnerable patients returning home

When our elderly and vulnerable patients leave hospital it can be difficult to be sure they have basic supplies for their first few days at home. Following a suggestion from a member of the RCHT team, wards are now able to request a Discharge Basics Pack to provide that extra helping hand for patients returning home. Particularly useful in recent weeks when access to supermarkets and shops can be difficult for this group of patients.
The packs containing items such as bread rolls, cereal, toilet roll, tea, coffee and milk have been funded for the next three months by the Covid19 Fund of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity.

“Our charity has been very generously supported by the local community in the past few weeks in response to the Covid19 Pandemic and it seems particularly fitting that we have been able to use some of these funds to support our patients at this time,” said Karen Murrish, Fundraising Manager for Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity.The Discharge Packs form part of a wider initiative to provide additional support to patients returning home with the creation of the new role of Discharge Support Volunteer.Verity Barker, Voluntary Services Manager at the Trust explains further,

“Our Discharge Support Volunteers are carefully selected for their high level of experience and skills, a few days after being discharged; our volunteers will call those patients who were in receipt of the Discharge basics pack. The purpose of the call is to say a friendly hello and simply check in on how they are doing at home.”

“We have had great feedback so far, with the calls being much appreciated. It is fantastic that our committed volunteers are able to provide this support particularly at a time when many of them are not able to carry out their normal roles on our hospital sites,” Verity added.

Volunteer Eve Thorp, previously a Specialist Nurse in Palliative Care at the Trust, explains more about her experience carrying out this new role,

“People are pleased to have had a friendly call even if they still have concerns or are continuing their progress to recovery. The discharge basics packs have been a popular and kind thought by the hospital during these strange times; one lady said that it had made all the difference to her discharge home.”

“Patients describe various things from who they have at home or nearby; some are living alone but perhaps having family nearby, or helpful neighbours or carers who support them. We might chat about how they spend their day or how they keep in touch with distant family or friends. On a few occasions we have sign posted people to other agencies like Volunteer Cornwall or their usual support services,” added Eve.