Happy birthday Home First

Somerset’s Home First social care and health initiative is celebrating its second birthday, having helped more than 5,000 people return home from hospital sooner.

Home First reduces hospital stays by offering patients the opportunity to finish their therapy out of the hospital with tailored help from professionals – providing better outcomes and freeing-up vital hospital beds.

It has been jointly developed by Somerset County Council’s adult social care team and the county’s hospitals in Taunton and Yeovil, working closely with the county’s care providers.

Since its launch more than 5,000 people have been helped by Home First; saving over 50,000 bed days saved and reducing permanent placements in care homes by more than 10 per cent.

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.

Home First is in line with Fit for my Future, the partnership between the County Council, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and major NHS providers including Somerset Partnership. It aims to make sure people can access joined-up health and care support in the community to help them live independently for as long as they can.

Councillor David Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care at Somerset County Council, said: “Promoting independence and getting people back on their feet is key to recovery, physically and mentally. Home First allows people to get the support they need, but in a different place where it can be more effective.

“It’s impact in its first two years has been remarkable and demonstrates how we can improve lives when health and social care work hand-in-hand with Somerset’s network of care providers and therapists.”

James Rimmer, Chief Executive at Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know that the best bed for the majority of people is their own bed. Home First is a wonderful example of how health and care services are working together to empower the people of Somerset to live independent and healthy lives in their own communities.

“This work supports not only the NHS Long Term Plan but our own vision for health and care in Somerset.”