Background Previously known as the Family Support Service, paid staff visited patients in their own homes to provide companionship, reduce social isolation and offer respite/a break to carers and families. This service was reviewed in 2013 and it was felt that although patients and carers found the service to be very beneficial, we remodelled the service so that it was less costly and could be offered to more patients, living at home. In 2014, the Home Visiting Service was launched as the remodelled Family Support Service. The Home Visiting Service provides volunteers to support patients and families in their own homes and the community.
Aims To give patients company, conversation and support in their own homes; and also the opportunity to go out and engage in community activities. The service can also benefit families and carers, to give them a break from their caring role, with peace of mind that their loved one is safe and occupied.
Methods High calibre volunteers are recruited and trained to visit patients in their own homes either weekly or fortnightly, for up to four hours (including travel). The volunteers can support patients by providing company and conversation but also assist with daily living, enabling patients to continue with their hobbies and can take patients out into the community.
Results 80 patients are currently being visited by 60 volunteers. Feedback from patients and families is very positive and some patients have said that the service is ‘invaluable’ and ‘life altering’. The service has benefitted patients in the following ways: Reduced patients’ social isolation; Enabled patients to play games/do quizzes/crosswords; Enabled patients to continue with hobbies; Enabled patients to get to appointments; Enabled patients to go out into the community to undertake physical exercise; Enabled patients, carers and families to have a break.
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