More person and community-led approaches are needed to help tackle increasing pressures on health and social care services, charity says.
Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), a volunteering charity, have produced three new commissioned service packages designed to help older people support themselves and build meaningful social connections.
The first, entitled Supporting Your Recovery, will see trained RVS volunteers placed on hospital wards to help older people return home stronger and more quickly after a hospital stay.
Supporting Your Recovery is based on a partnership between the charity and nine hospitals in Leicestershire through 2015-16. The service achieved a 9.2% readmission rate compared to a national figure of 15% for those 75 years and over.
The Supporting You at Home commissioned service, the second of the RVS’ packages, matches volunteers with older people who are identified as lonely or isolated.
This is aimed at restoring older people with confidence and independence by building resilience and improving physical and mental strength.
The last package, Supporting Healthy and Happy Lives, provides older people living with low to moderate dementia tools to help them add quality to their life through personal support and social activities such as gentle exercise sessions, Cognitive Stimulation Therapy, and hobby or interest classes.
Sam Ward at Royal Voluntary Service commented: ‘The roll-out of these new services will unleash the power of volunteers and could significantly ease pressure on health and social care by reducing readmissions to hospital, time spent in hospital and the frequency of calls and visits to A&E departments, as well as enriching the lives and experiences of thousands of older people across Great Britain.’