Patricia Howe has always been fiercely independent and active – but when she was laid low by ill health, our volunteer made sure she had enough caring support to recover at home.
Patricia’s story vividly demonstrates how the Red Cross’ support not only turns around the lives of vulnerable people, but can also cut demands on health and social care providers.
After a serious bout of pneumonia landed her in hospital for six weeks, the weakened 74-year-old returned to an empty Surrey home. Other than carers who popped round each morning, she was completely alone and quickly lost all her confidence. Just two weeks later, she had to be readmitted to hospital.
But when she was discharged for a second time, weeks later, St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey had already referred her to the Red Cross care in the home service – and life immediately got better.
Patricia recalled: “I was overwhelmed by the support they provided. The day Claire from the Red Cross arrived, my life changed completely. She was there when I felt very low and ill, and looked after me.
“Suddenly I had food in my fridge, a meal on my plate, and everything I needed was right there. I was even given a number so that if I needed anything at all, no matter what it was, I could call them.”
Pauline Jervis, an adult social care commissioner for Surrey County Council, is pleased to hear such accounts. She said: “The care in the home service supports cost savings by helping avoid unnecessary admissions and provides support on an individual basis.
“Feedback is positive in terms of patient satisfaction and we’re now exploring opportunities for further partnership working with the Red Cross.”
As she recovers, Patricia is feeling optimistic about the future. She said: “I’m lucky the Red Cross came to me straight from hospital, because now I am walking about and starting to enjoy my life again.
"Without Claire’s guidance and help, I don’t think I’d be at home today. I feel she has been able to give me back my life.”
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