‘Home First’ relieves pressure on Somerset hospitals

Home First, a Somerset health and social care initiative, is freeing up hospital beds during this busy winter period by giving people the care they need at home.

Although the numbers of people being admitted to local hospitals has increased significantly, the number of people facing unnecessary delays in leaving hospital has reduced by an impressive 60 per cent compared to the same time last year.

This huge reduction in delays is thanks to Home First, a new initiative that allows people to return home from hospital sooner.

Cllr David Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care at Somerset County Council, said: “Home First allows people to get the support they need, but in a different place where it can be more effective. Getting back to our lives, our own routines and regaining independence after a stay in hospital plays an essential part in our recovery, both mentally and physically.

“As well as being the right thing for patients, Home First has had a major impact on our health and social care system this winter. As demand on our local hospitals has increased delayed discharges are being kept to a minimum meaning that more hospital beds are freed up for those becoming really unwell.

“It is clear that if we hadn’t introduced Home First in September of last year, then the situation in hospitals during this busy period would’ve been worse, as patients otherwise ready to go home would have been waiting in hospital for assessments and care planning.”

As soon as someone no longer needs medical support in hospital, Home First allows them to leave hospital rather than waiting on the ward for care assessments and rehabilitation planning. Instead they now receive those assessments and support at home, or in a specialist unit, care home or community hospital, to help them get back on their feet and regain their independence.

Since the initiative launched in September 2017 over 450 people have been supported to move on from hospital sooner and average stays in hospital have been reduced by five days for each person.

Watch a short film of Tim Baverstock, Commissioning Manager at Somerset County Council, and Kate Smith, Therapy Services Lead at Musgrove Park Hospital, talking about Home First and how it is making a difference to people: