Red Cross helps Leeds elderly to stay out of hospital

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The Red Cross is today launching a new service for older people in Leeds.

It will work with and support patients at home, avoiding hospital admissions or re-admissions.

It hopes to treat hundreds of patients a year, preventing patients from becoming isolated, keeping them independent and restoring confidence.

Its target area is north and west Leeds.

The service is entitled “Home from Hospital.”

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Typical help includes providing emotional support or companionship, assistance with shopping, getting to health appointments, form filling, collecting prescriptions, sign posting to Neighbourhood Network Schemes in their area, therapeutic care, and medical loan – wheelchairs and commodes.

People will typically be referred to the service by their GPs or other health professionals.

Marjorie Ashbrook, 85, from Cookridge, is one of the first beneficiaries to use the service, after falling and breaking her hip in May.

She said: “It has been very reassuring to know that someone is there if I need extra help.

“When I came home after two weeks in hospital, Beth started visiting me and helping me around the house while I’m recovering. I can get about quite well now, but I’ve got to be careful.

“It was a surprise when I found out the British Red Cross does this kind of thing – and I think it’s wonderful, especially for people who may be on their own and need a bit of extra help to stay independent.”

Beth Mabey, who has been visiting Marjorie as part of the Home from Hospital service, said: “It is a great feeling being able to contribute to the community and help people in need. Even the smallest thing can make such a difference to the life of someone struggling to settle back into their home after a stay in hospital.

“Volunteering is definitely rewarding but you’re able to build and gain skills you wouldn’t normally get the chance to otherwise.”

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