Get support at home
The British Red Cross home care services will provide you with the support and care to help you when you return after a stay in hospital.
This page is available in Welsh (Cymraeg).
Being discharged after your hospital stay can be a stressful experience, especially when you don't have the means to get home.
If you do need help returning home from hospital, we'll collect you and make sure you have everything you need for your first 24 to 72 hours back at home.
We’ll also provide practical and emotional support, whether that's stocking the fridge, feeding the cat or a just cup of tea and chat.
We may then provide up to 12 weeks of support to help you recover as quickly as possible.
How to get help
You can be referred by someone else (such as a hospital, primary care trust or your GP) or you can contact your local service yourself.
What help will I get?
We'll assess your needs and help you decide what goals you want to achieve with our help.
The support we offer varies by area, so please check with your local service. In some places, we can also offer practical and emotional support. We offer:
- transport home from hospital
- help with everyday tasks (for example, picking up prescriptions and shopping)
- rebuilding confidence
- help arranging for bills to be paid
- short-term use of a wheelchair and toilet aids.
- door-to-door transport for essential health-care journeys (this is not available in every county - please check with your local service)
Our volunteers receive full training to support you in meeting your goals.
After leaving hospital
If you're returning from hospital, we make sure you have everything you need for your first 24 to 72 hours back at home. We may then provide up to 12 weeks of support depending on the level of help you need.
Transport home from hospital
In the days before you're discharged from hospital, one of our volunteers will come in to meet you. They'll also visit your home to make sure there is food in the fridge, no trip hazards, and that everything is as it should be.
On the day you're discharged, they'll help you pack your things and collect anything else you might need before you leave, such as prescriptions or mobility aids. Then, they'll drive you home.
After your hospital discharge
Our volunteers will help you get settled again once you're home. They'll help you with the essentials, from changing your bedsheets and collecting prescriptions, to calling your loved ones to let them know you're back safe.
They'll also stay in touch over the following 72 hours to see how you're doing and whether you need anything.
Independent living and everyday tasks
Longer term, we work with people to build up the confidence to live independently and achieve their goals. In some areas, our volunteers can visit every week for up to 12 weeks, to make sure you recovery goes smoothly. We'll also provide practical and emotional support and transport you to non-emergency medical appointments.
Prescriptions and transport
Our door-to-door patient transport services are available for essential health-care journeys and other essential trips, such as:
- Getting to medical appointments - if you have limited mobility and need transport to get to non-urgent medical appointments, we may be able to help.
- Picking up prescriptions and shopping - if you're having trouble getting to the shops, we can get groceries and prescriptions for you
Some services are not available in every county - please check with your local service.
It can be lonely and disorientating after being in hospital, but we're here to support you.
Our friendly volunteers will visit you every week to see how're you're getting on and to have a chat. They're also at the other end of the phone if you need to speak to them.
Setting a goal is a vital part of your recovery. It might be reconnecting with family or friends, exercising more or visiting a place that means something to you. Our volunteers are trained in setting goals and will help you build confidence over time.
Support for carers
We offer support for carers in a few limited locations in the UK.
Contact your local support at home service to find out if we offer help in your area.
We have a special service for people in Newcastle, run in partnership with Newcastle City Council. The Emergency Carers Card scheme is a free service that allows carers over the age of 18 to set up a pre-arranged emergency contact plan, providing temporary support for the people you care for, should something unexpected happen.
The service is available 24 hours, 7 days a week, and is recognised by all emergency services in the UK.
To register, contact the Red Cross Emergency Carers Card scheme on 0191 2737961 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.