Norman gets back into family life thanks to Home First

Home First - a partnership involving Oxford Health - is supporting people to gain a greater level of independence and stay in their own homes.

Norman gets back into family life thanks to Home First

Norman Haynes and his wife Chris are among around 1,500 residents who have been supported by an innovative approach that aims to achieve greater levels of independence for people in their own home following a period of being unwell.

Established in Oxfordshire in June last year, Home First has been set up by Oxfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Age UK, Oxford University Hospitals and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trusts.

Norman, a retired firm manager in his eighties from Witney had a five-week-long stay in hospital before being supported home by Home First. He’d been unwell for some time before he was admitted to hospital, and things were becoming difficult for him and Chris on a daily basis.

Norman and Chris have a large family and have led an independent life up to this point, so the thought of needing help was daunting for them. Norman explained: “I was dubious at the beginning about having carers and people coming into my home, but now I am so grateful to them and am very happy with how far they have helped me come.”

When he was first discharged home, he needed support from two reablement support workers four times a day.

One of those who supported him was one of Home First’s occupational therapists Jo, who worked with Norman and Chris from day one at home. She helped to establish what was important to Norman and how this level of support could be stepped down as his independence and strength increased.

Norman had two key goals he wanted to achieve as he recovered from his long hospital stay: getting out and about in the local community again on his mobility scooter, and getting back upstairs into his own bed which would help both him and his wife.

It was clear that with the support of Home First’s reablement workers, he was quickly starting to make real progress with his mobility, and he was soon able to reduce the level of support he needed to one carer providing support four times a day

Norman, Chris and the Home First team were then able to turn their attention to his wish to be able to sleep upstairs again. On top of his existing stairlift Jo was able to make a number of small changes such as fitting in rails to help Norman further regain his strength.

Just three weeks later, Norman and Chris no longer need Home First. Chris said: “I was so pleased that the carers came in to help him when he came out of hospital. He has made so much progress and today he has gone out on his scooter to vote!”

Norman is absolutely delighted with the care he received, commenting: “They did everything they could do and more.

“I’m extremely grateful for them, they did a wonderful job and now I can get out on my scooter, go to Marks and Spencer and buy some nice food”.

Sarah Hamblin, Allied Health Professions Clinical Lead Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Working together with our system partners in such a positive way has ensured that our patients return home to their community with the level of support and rehabilitation that they require.

“We have all brought our skills and knowledge to the partnership to deliver a service that works to develop goals with our patients to ensure that they can recover at home while re-building the skills and confidence they, their families and carers need to manage at home as independently as possible.”

Sally Steele, System Lead for Home First at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “Home First supports people to return to their own home as soon as possible to recover following a hospital stay.

“This recovery is supported by a range of professionals who will work with people to encourage and enable independent living wherever possible. Working in this collaborative way allows us to meet the needs of people in a more creative and personalised way, focussing on what matters to that individual in terms of their needs.”

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at Oxford University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is just one example of how Home First can make a different to our patients.

“By working with our colleagues across the health and social care system, we can help our patients receive the right care, in the right place. Once hospital care is complete, many people want to be back home as soon as possible, which is completely understandable – and this approach continues their care at home and helps build their independence.”

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Published: 12 May 2021