Safety Netting Volunteers hit 30,000 post-discharge calls

Our Safety Netting calls team have achieved the milestone of hitting 30,000 calls to patients as a follow-up check in made the day after discharge.

The Volunteer Safety Netting service was formed to check in on a patient’s welfare after they’ve been discharged from hospital.

David Eastaugh, Volunteer Co-ordinator, said: “Volunteers are given a list of patients to contact each day and run through ten short questions with them to assess how they are managing back at home. This can range from asking if they are eating, drinking and sleeping okay, whether they have enough food in the house and whether they are feeling lonely.

“They also ask how their experience in hospital was, if they got their meds, discharge letter etc.”

The calls are made to patients who have no recognised additional support needs, but any issues they may have are escalated so they can receive further support at home. The team operate out of a dedicated call room at the NNUH main site which provides them with the necessary IT equipment and privacy required to carry out the calls.

We spoke to safety netting calls volunteers, Sue Anderson, Anna Bennett, and June Mitchell about their experiences volunteering for the service.

Sue said: Reaching the milestone of over 30,000 calls is an exceptional achievement and I’m very proud to have contributed to this.

“I have been a volunteer for the Welfare Safety Net team for nearly two years and the most rewarding thing about my role is knowing how appreciative and often surprised patients are that we have ‘checked in’ on them. Also, that we may have called them at a time when they need a little support, reassurance, advice, guidance or just to vent about their experience in hospital.”

June said: “Patients actually feel that they are not forgotten when we speak to them after they have been discharged.

“When we speak to them they can highlight issues that need extra attention. It is satisfying when you can give a little snippet of information that makes a difference and for those who need more support so that they can be passed back to the voluntary service team for an onward referral or in search of missing medicines, slippers or hearing aids!

“I joined because the NHS was stretched thin due to Covid-19 and I wanted to help. I have always loved chatting to people and find the work very rewarding.

“It’s always nice to hear when the staff are complimented, and they can see that their efforts are not in vain.”

Anna said: “I spent my career working in the NHS and know the value of the input from volunteers. When I retired, I looked to the hospital for volunteering opportunities, the safety netting calls gave me contact with patients without having to be hands on, the steps that voluntary services can take to settle in patients and avoid readmission felt really worthwhile.”

The team will also check in on the patients’ general wellbeing, alongside any queries related to their medical care.“It is really satisfying to hear that so many patients have loved ones or good neighbours who have rallied around to help them until they are back to full strength.

For those who aren’t as fortunate, befriending services or other local support organisations are there to help,” added Anna.

“Most patients really appreciate the call and are pleased to know that someone is considering them.”