“I love my uniform, I always say to people ‘don’t you think it looks friendly?” says Carol Looby, a volunteer for the Home from Hospital service in Leeds.
Carol works with the Home from Hospital Service which supports people in the immediate post-discharge from hospital period by providing practical support for anything up to 6 weeks. The aim of the service is to ensure a smooth transition for people returning home from hospital a time that, for some people, can be very difficult. Carol tells us more about what being a volunteer means to her.
“I find volunteering very rewarding because I have first-hand experience of what it’s like to need support after being discharged from hospital. I’ve received thank-you cards and chocolates. It’s fun and my bosses make me feel special.”
Carol was put in touch with the Red Cross who provide the service by nurses at the Leeds General Infirmary where she was being treated for a broken hip in December 2012. By July 2015, she will have supported around 50 people in their homes who, without the support of this service would have been kept in hospital.
She is full of praise for the compassionate treatment she received by ambulance staff and the nurses who looked after her for four days at the LGI.
Carol knows first-hand what the Home from Hospital scheme can do “When I arrived home from hospital Beth had done my shopping and had brought me a zimmer frame and a frame to help me to get onto the toilet. Then Aasim used to bring me fish and chips and do my shopping once a week. My mum got ill and was in hospital and Aasim took me to see her in Bradford when I wasn’t able to drive.”
Beth Finch, the service coordinator who prepared Carol’s home for her return, and who is now her boss, describes Carol is a ‘highly motivated and dedicated volunteer carer’.
“I remember meeting Carol when she was on Ward 37 at the Leeds General Infirmary. She was such a happy patient, she was always smiling and always looked at the positives with her situation. She was so appreciative of all the support the nursing staff had given her and for the fact they had cared enough to put her in touch with the Home from Hospital Service, not only for the support she received following discharge but for the way it allowed her to improve her quality of life and ability to give back to her community through becoming a volunteer carer.”
Of the numerous activities Carol has been involved with as a volunteer, shopping is her favourite.
“I just love shopping. There’s someone I work with and I change her bedding, do the vacuuming and put the bins out. I like dusting and vacuuming because I can chat to people at the same time. Some people just want me to go out with them for lunch to help build their confidence back up and there’s one lady who I’ve gone on a bus with to get her used to going out and about again.”
Carol has osteoporosis and is unable to perform tasks which involve a lot of bending down or heavy lifting but she says that her condition doesn’t pose any problems.
The Home from Hospital scheme treats thousands of patients a year, preventing patients from becoming isolated, keeping them independent and restoring confidence. work with and support patients at home, avoiding hospital admissions or re-admissions.
Typical help includes providing emotional support or companionship, assistance with shopping, getting to health appointments, form filling, collecting prescriptions, sign posting to Neighbourhood Network Schemes in their area, therapeutic care, and medical loan – wheelchairs and commodes.
People will typically be referred to the service by their GPs or other health professionals.
You want can find out more about the Home from Hospital scheme here