There’s no place like home, especially after a stay in the hospital. To that end, a local partnership has launched Homeward Bound in Chatham-Kent.
The program is designed to help seniors make the transition from time in the hospital back to their homes. The Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) is providing $162,000 in annual funding to the Canadian Red Cross and Family Services Kent to deliver the service locally.
A kick off of the program took place May 1 at Family Service Kent’s office on Adelaide Street in Chatham.
Ralph Ganter, a senior director with the LHIN, said Homeward Bound is all about putting senior citizens in their place of comfort.
“We know healing in the home is what seniors want,” he said. “The key is to have less hospital re-admissions.”
To that end, the program is designed to provide support, including food and organization of care, to help clients heal as comfortably as possible.
Cheryl Tompkins, a senior manager with the Red Cross, said the LHIN funded a pilot project for Homeward Bound in Sarnia starting in 2008. It took off.
“The project started in 2008, with a budget to help about 360 people a year. We did 750 last year in Sarnia,” she said.
Tompkins said the program is so successful because of diligence and compassion.
“We’ll do laundry, change the bed, have personal time with the clients,” she said. “We try to customize it to make sure clients have ample support.”
Jean Marie Cole is someone who benefitted from Homeward Bound in Sarnia-Lambton. She told the gathering May 1 how important the service can be.
“It helps you get around. It’s comforting. When I was in hospital, I knew they’d be there for me,” she said. “Coming home, you know you won’t be alone. That helps speed the healing process.”
The people handling the hands-on effort for Homeward Bound in Chatham-Kent come from the CHAP (Community Home-Support Assisting People) program of Family Services Kent. Brad Davis, executive director of Family Services Kent, is a proponent of Homeward Bound.
“I think this program is a win for all involved,” he said. “Thanks to the Red Cross for visualizing and conceptualizing this. The value of it is just so obvious.”
Davis said Family Services Kent has provided support services to seniors in Chatham-Kent since 1980.
Clients generally will enter Homeward Bound via recommendation from a health-care provider at the hospital, Tompkins said. Once that’s done, plans are drawn up to get the client home, and an assessment is done to see what care is needed. A meal plan is worked out, with two days of meals provided, and a support schedule developed.
“We never leave someone without the supports they need,” Tompkins said. “Before we leave their house, we know with confidence they’ll be taken care of.”
CHAP personnel will also conduct a home assessment when they bring the client home, to ensure there are no trip hazards and appliances are functioning.