In my role as a copywriter, I often find myself providing commentary on the pressures on the NHS. It is widely accepted that the aging population has a significant effect on our health service alongside economic pressures. So I was saddened today to read the results of a survey carried out by the Royal Voluntary Service.
It turns out that 40 per cent of people aged over 75 years old who are in hospital at any given time are well enough to be discharged. And 70 per cent of nurses delay releasing elderly patients purely because there is insufficient support in place to help them when they are released.
Whilst this is undoubtedly having an effect on hospital waiting times, to me this isn’t the matter at issue here. The point is that a high proportion of elderly people have insufficient support at home.
Support can include help around the home, assistance in getting out and about and making it to appointments. It could mean adaptations to make life easier, help with shopping or accessible transport. Most importantly though, it includes companionship.
Aside from the practical implications and the strain on the NHS, I just find it tragic that so many elderly people are being released from hospital to a life of solitude.
There’s nothing worse than being lonely. When you’re not feeling your best and you need a helping hand, having nobody to turn to must be completely soul destroying.
The Royal Voluntary Service support older people by giving both practical help and quite simply their time.
Their latest campaign, Help Them Home, aims to offer support to every older person who is returning home from hospital and feels they could do with someone to lean on.
The support of a volunteer can be invaluable to an elderly person. And let’s face it, volunteering offers huge benefits to the volunteer as well.
And from a purely practical point of view, hospitals will be in a position to discharge people quicker if they team up with support volunteers. That means less pressure on hospital staff and shorter waiting times for everyone.
Early indications are that people who are assisted by volunteers when they return home are less likely to need a repeat visit to hospital.
You may not have heard of the Royal Voluntary Service, they were formerly the WRVS (Women’s Royal Voluntary Service), who have been present in hospitals for 75 years.
Do visit their website if you can help as a volunteer, donate or help out with a blog post to spread the word. It’s amazing how much difference you could make to someone’s life by taking the time to have a cup of tea with them.
Please note, this post is not sponsored or compensated in any way. I was asked to raise awareness of this brilliant cause and I was delighted to help. I hate not having time to volunteer myself at the moment due to work and childcare commitments, so I like to use my blog to help out in any way I can.