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OUH joins forces with Age UK Oxfordshire to keep older people well this winter


Age UK Oxfordshire has joined forces once again with Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to support older people and keep them well during the colder months, as well as helping them home from hospital.

As the health and social care system continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, their support is more welcome than ever with everyone having to play a greater role in their community.

This support is part of Oxfordshire’s 'home first' approach to care, which prioritises treating people at home where possible and reduces hospital stays.

To help that aim, Age UK Oxfordshire staff are supporting patients to feel more confident on returning home from hospital and gain easier access to community support.

Supported by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxfordshire County Council, and the South Central Ambulance Service, the system has implemented this 'home first' approach over previous winters and continues to do so throughout the pandemic.

Age UK Oxfordshire staff are based at both the John Radcliffe Hospital and Horton General Hospital in Banbury seven days a week.

Ruth Swift, Head of Community Development at Age UK Oxfordshire, who is leading the hospital support work, said:

"We're really pleased to be part of the Trust team. By being on-site at the hospitals, we're able to act quickly to support patients and their families on their discharge - which has never been more important than during COVID-19.

"We can help with all aspects of care - from being there during their hospital treatment, to planning for what's needed to help them get home safely and live independently. This can be all kinds of support, including help with sorting out heating, moving furniture, support with food shopping - anything to make life easier and more comfortable. Our main aim is for people to feel confident and comfortable in their own home, which is often the best place for them to be."

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at the Trust, said: "We're delighted to be working with Age UK Oxfordshire again.  Their support has made a real difference to both our staff and our patients every time we've worked with them.

"We all know that winter is an incredibly busy time for our hospitals, and with the impact of COVID-19 we are even more grateful for their help. Knowing that our patients have that extra bit of help is really beneficial, and fully supports our 'home first' approach.

"All of our initiatives to support this have the same message at their core - often, home is the best place for our patients. No-one wants to stay in hospital longer than they need to, and our Age UK Oxfordshire colleagues are there to make sure our patients feel assured and happy in their own homes.

"After being in hospital, our patients can often feel nervous about returning to more independent living. With Age UK Oxfordshire working with our patients from the very beginning of their hospital stay, they can tailor their approach to suit people's individual needs."

Stephen Chandler, Director of Adult Services at Oxfordshire County Council, said:

"This is a fantastic initiative across the health and social care system.

"During the winter months, elderly people can be particularly vulnerable to the colder weather with higher risks of slips and falls, respiratory problems, and flu.

"With Age UK Oxfordshire's help, they can be signposted to some of the excellent support that's in the community, which gives them one less thing to worry about when returning home from hospital and focusing on their recovery."