Older people returning home after a stay at Worthing Hospital will benefit from a new scheme initiated by staff and supported by volunteers and local supermarkets.
Welcome Home Packs, containing essentials like milk, bread, cheese and fruit, will help frail and isolated patients to be more comfortable on their first night back home.
Matron Katrina O’Shea said: “Some patients have told us how stressful it was returning home to an empty house where there was nothing fresh to eat.
“So we are delighted our new Welcome Home Packs address that basic need, making sure they will have food nearby.
“By providing a sandwich, cake and a drink to tide them over, we will take some of the pressure out of that first day back home and aid their recovery.”
The idea of providing goody bags was raised at a regular meeting held at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust where staff discuss how to further improve services for patients.
The Trust’s Lead Governor Margaret Bamford was present and felt inspired to make Welcome Home Packs a reality.
“I thought this is absolutely wonderful,” said Margaret, “and another great example of staff in the hospitals always thinking about how to make things better for patients.
“I offered to make contact with some of the supermarkets and I was overwhelmed with the positive response.”
Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose in Worthing are all backing the scheme, rallying the wider community in support of the hospital’s Welcome Home Packs.
The supermarkets will donate the groceries to go in the bags, apart from Waitrose which is helping to fund the scheme through its Community Matters charitable initiative.
Throughout July, shoppers at the town centre store can donate their green tokens from the checkout to support Welcome Home Packs for older patients at Worthing Hospital.
Margaret said: “Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose are wonderful – their response has been absolutely outstanding and I am so very grateful for what they have done.
Matron Katrina O’Shea added: “I would like to thank everyone who is helping to make this project happen, including volunteers like Margaret, Trust staff from catering to discharge teams, and of course our community partners.”
Welcome Home Packs are being piloted at Worthing Hospital from September before the scheme is rolled out to St Richard’s in Chichester.
Pictured: Matron Katrina O’Shea with Lead Governor Margaret Bamford