Making a difference after a hospital stay
The Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) is one of the largest volunteer organisations in the UK. Their 35,000+ volunteers help older people stay active, independent and contributing to society.
We were asked to run a survey for people over the age of 75 who had stayed in hospital within the last five years. What were their experiences after leaving hospital? Did they have enough support to meet their needs?
We aimed to:
- Explore how many stays the person had in hospital and whether they had been quickly readmitted after their first stay.
- Consider whether people felt they’d been discharged before they felt ready to cope.
- Find out where was support needed most, from preparing meals to companionship at home.
- Gather how older people felt when they came home from hospital – did they feel anxious or depressed?
- Ascertain the need and interest for a service by the RVS for older people released from hospital. Could this prevent unnecessary hospital admissions by providing extra support and care at home?
Phase 1: We carried out a telephone study with 400 people over the age of 75. These were people who had been admitted to hospital in the last five years and who lived in their own home. The sample came from across England, Scotland and Wales.
Phase 2: We carried out a number of follow up depth interviews with people who’d taken part in Phase 1. The RVS visited these people themselves to provide vital case studies for their subsequent report.
We discovered over 25% of those readmitted within three months had not felt ready to go home.
The research contributed towards the RVS launching its ‘Let’s End Going Home Alone’ campaign. It identified six essentials every older person should be entitled to experience when they leave hospital. These will improve the discharge process and more importantly, help older people get better more quickly.