SENIORS NETWORK: Getting patients home

Volunteer Assisted Discharge Program began more than a year ago

SENIORS NETWORK: Getting patients home

The Seniors Health Network each month poses a question to health-care professionals. This month, Kathy McIntyre was asked:

I’m 87 and I’m having cataract surgery in September. I have no family here and my friends don’t drive anymore. I’m afraid I’ll have to take a taxi home and it makes me quite nervous. Should I take an ambulance home?

Going home from the hospital alone after surgery, or any kind of treatment, can be stressful. It wouldn’t be an appropriate use of emergency services to use an ambulance, but Peace Arch Hospital does have a wonderful alternative for seniors.

The Volunteer Assisted Discharge Program started through a partnership with Seniors Come Share, Sources and Peace Arch Hospital. Pairs of volunteers are available five days a week to take seniors home from hospital who would otherwise go home alone.

The volunteers have helped more than 150 seniors get home safely since the program began last year. These kind and caring volunteers will drive seniors home, help them get settled inside and even make a cup of tea!

Until now, the program has provided service to the ER and all medical and surgical units, but starting in August they will also provide service to the surgical daycare unit where you will be after your cataract surgery.

When you check in, be sure to tell the nurse you would like the volunteers to drive you home after your surgery and the nurse can book your ride. The volunteers are at the hospital from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

This program also provides a booklet of community resource information, as well as – through Seniors Come Share – a followup phone call to see if you need to be assessed for the “Better at Home” program, which provides non-clinical supports to ensure you can safely stay in your home. Additionally, the program can provide a fire-department referral if you need a smoke detector installed free of charge.

Our volunteers are selected for their kindness and compassion, and all are referenced and insured. We take care in our selection of fabulous volunteers, and we are proud of their service to our seniors.

We are also very grateful to the John Block family foundation for providing the financial support that allows us to deliver this program that helps seniors go home from hospital safely.

Kathy McIntyre is the project manager for the Seniors Health Network who led the development of this program.