21 May 2012
The British Red Cross in Dudley is looking for compassionate volunteers
to provide practical and emotional support to people who have recently been discharged from hospital, helping them regain their independence.
The Red Cross provides short-term care
and support in the home for people after an accident or illness, giving them the confidence to continue their daily lives. This service can be provided following a stay in hospital or to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions.
Gordon Hall, from Quarry Bank, Dudley, credits home from hospital volunteer Steve Eales with helping him get back on his feet after he had to undergo a lengthy hospital stay following a serious stroke.
Gordon’s drama started in February 2006, when his alarm went off like any other normal day. But as he rolled over to switch it off, Gordon fell out of bed. On the floor, the father-of-two discovered he couldn’t pick himself up and when he called for help his speech was slurred.
Within minutes his wife had called an ambulance and Gordon was rushed to Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, where doctors discovered Gordon had suffered a stroke.
He was just 59-years-old and up until then, the sales rep had led an active life, running the Lakeside Rangers and Withymoor Colts football teams. He had coached his sons in badminton, football, tennis and cricket, but all this ended when he had the stroke.
“It has completely changed my life,” said Gordon, now 66. “Everything is an effort now and I miss the things I used to do. I used to do all the cooking and now I can’t even crack an egg. But it hasn’t all been doom and gloom since having the stroke. I have met some amazing people, had I not had the stroke this would not have happened.”
Gordon’s stroke paralysed his left side and affected his sight and hearing. He spent 11 weeks in hospital where his determination to recover saw him regaining his speech and some movement in his left leg. It is unlikely he will ever regain mobility in his left arm.
During his recovery, Gordon’s marriage broke down and he moved out of the family home to a small flat in Quarry Bank.
When the time came for Gordon’s physiotherapy to end in November 2011 he was referred to the British Red Cross home from hospital service and paired up with volunteer Steve Eales. Since then Gordon has referred himself back to the service for short periods of support following hospital stays.
Steve visits Gordon once a week and helps with simple tasks like shopping and reading letters, but most importantly he gets him out of the house in the wheelchair for some fresh air.
“It is so important to get him out of those four walls because it drives him potty being inside all day,” said Steve, a retired primary school head teacher. “The satisfaction I get from helping Gordon is great; it’s nice to feel useful.”
Since the home from hospital service started at Russells Hall Hospital in March 2010, volunteers have helped 900 patients settle back into home after a stay in hospital. The service supports people for four to six weeks following their discharge and volunteers usually visit people once or twice a week.
Volunteers need to be compassionate, have a friendly and caring personality and be available for a minimum of two hours per week. The role requires volunteers to make home visits, giving practical support with light domestic tasks, shopping and collecting prescriptions and providing emotional support, reassurance and encouragement. Anyone who can travel within the Dudley Borough can help.
Ideally volunteers will have their own transport, however this is not essential as they can offer a befriending phone call or use public transport.
To find out more, please contact Julie Norman, home from hospital co-ordinator on 01384 456111 or email: JNorman@redcross.org.uk
To find out more about the Red Cross visit redcross.org.uk/careinthehome
Notes to editors
For more information on the British Red Cross please visit: http://www.redcross.org.uk
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.