Back to independence with Home First The Independent Lives hospital discharge service, Home First, has helped over 500 people to get home from hospital since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The service, which launched at the beginning of 2020, covers Worthing and Chichester in West Sussex, and provides a range of free support to ensure that patients can safely return to independent living at home. Home First’s main objective is to prevent people from staying in hospital for longer than they need to. People recover better outside of hospital, but a service needs to be in place to prevent isolation and re-occurring hospital visits. June Davie, a recent Home First customer, said this about her support: ‘I had been in hospital for a fortnight when I was first introduced to the Home First team, and I was beginning to think I might never get back home! I was told I would be going home, and that they would be visiting me three times a day to support me with everything I needed. I’d never received care before so it was a big, but welcome, change. ‘The staff were extremely supportive, and over a month or two I had started to regain my confidence and independence, and had cut the visits down to once a week. I couldn’t have done without the help, and I know I wouldn’t be back on my own two feet so soon if it weren’t for the support.’ Under the scheme, individuals are supported with up to six weeks of free personalised care, which includes confidence building, companionship, and practical things like making sure the heating is working and the fridge is stocked. Sam Pegg, Director of Operations at Independent Lives, said: ‘Working in partnership with the NHS and West Sussex County Council has been fantastic. Our combined efforts have facilitated the safe and efficient hospital discharge for hundreds of West Sussex residents during the pandemic. ‘It’s so important that we get people home from hospital in a person-centred and safe way, especially in light of the current circumstances. Not only is it much better for our customers to be at home, but it also frees up hospital beds for critical COVID-19 treatment for those who need it.’ If you would like more information about the service, please call us on 01903 227813 to speak to our Home First team.