A partnership between Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Age UK Nottingham & Nottinghamshire to support a patient advocacy service has been hailed as a success.
Jo Pritchard, Age UK Notts Patients Representative/Advocate, has been working at the Trust since April 2013, offering advice, guidance and support to patients who are over the age of 60 across geriatric wards.
Since its launch the service has already received more than 120 referrals.
The majority of these referrals have been made by hospital staff, but an increasing number of carers and patients are self-referring.
Through the referrals patients have been able to access additional support on discharge and vulnerable patients have been provided with an independent voice while being cared for in hospital.
Jo also signposts patients, carers and relatives to extra benefit entitlements, befriending schemes, specialist day services and respite for carers.
She said: “This service has given independent support to older patients and their carers during their hospital stay. It assists them to have their voice heard and ensures their wishes are respected.
“Upon discharge it also gives people the necessary information about the support available within the community to help them live as independently as possible.”
This new service is being piloted as part of a redesign programme looking to identify improvements that can be made to older person’s services. One key finding was to provide patients with an independent voice, as it can be harder for older patients to speak out and be heard.
Anyone wishing to refer into this service should call Jo Pritchard on 01623 622515 ext 4675.