FUNDING of more than £9,000 has been awarded to support a hospital discharge scheme in Fordingbridge to help people maintain their independence.

New Forest Disability Information Services (NFDIS) has been given additional grants by New Forest District Council (NFDC) to boost its Just Got Home hospital discharge scheme.

The scheme has been given a £10,000 grant to expand Just Got Home at Lymington Hospital, and £9,750 to roll-out the scheme at Fordingbridge Hospital, which started this month.

NFDIS meet with hospital patients who are soon to return home, to give advice and information, as well as help coordinating services for a timely discharge from hospital.

The Just Got Home service aims to support and residents to remain more comfortable, safe and independent in their own home. They work with the district council’s housing teams who can provide home adaptations if required.

Geraldine Spencer, the outreach and projects manager and deputy chief executive of NFDIS, says the charity is “delighted” to have received the funding for the scheme and it has wanted to “expand it for a long time”.

Adding: “We are really delighted to be able to reach more New Forest residents and really grateful to New Forest District Council.”

As part of the scheme an advisor visits patients before discharge and after they have returned home and can support people in getting equipment to help them at home such as stair lifts or level access showers, arrange transport or online food. Safety visits from the fire service can also be arranged as can mobile services like a hairdresser or chiropodist.

Geraldine says the support is about “increasing independence to be as safe as possible and have the best quality of life” and looks at the “whole picture” to pick up on needs that may have been missed by other bodies.

“It is really about having a better life when they go home than they might have had when they went into hospital,” she added.

“It is a really low cost way of preventing hospital admissions, helping with a timely discharge and helping people have support so they can have the best quality of life and stay independent. It is a way of giving back and increasing independence by putting things in place to help.”

Cllr Jill Cleary, NFDC’s portfolio holder for housing and homelessness, said: “This funding will help people to stay living independently in their own homes and it is so important we expand our support for this community service so help is provided when it is needed.”

New Forest District councillor for Fordingbridge, Cllr Ann Sevier welcomed the arrival of the scheme in Fordingbridge as it had been working “very well” in Lymington where it has been in operation for a number of years.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have this scheme for Fordingbridge,” she added. “It is about the people of Fordingbridge. Little things can make such a difference to people. The other issue is that people are now miles away from relatives and rely on neighbours and churches.

"This is an extra fail safe mechanism. So many people are isolated so there does need to be something like this available to help these people and give them confidence going home and managing at home so they can re-establish their home life.”

“It is important to people that they get home and have the life they want. People don’t want to be in hospital,” said Cllr Sevier who says she has been pushing for this for three years.

“Residents should be able to get home and resume their lives.”

Speaking of the charity’s expertise, she said: “They are very experienced and have lots of knowledge.”