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Families urged to consider bringing loved ones home from hospital

A picture of Keith Reid

Families with relatives in hospital are being asked as a matter of urgency to consider bringing them home if they are well enough to be looked after in the community.

They would not just be doing the best thing for their loved one but supporting their local NHS at a time of great need.

The families would not be expected to look after them indefinitely but as an interim measure until they could return to their own home or to an alternative such as a care home.

With the highly-infectious Omicron variant now the dominant strain of Covid-19 in Wales, the chance of contracting the virus in hospital is greater than ever.

Swansea Bay currently has more than 250 people in its hospitals who are medically well enough to leave but are unable to do so for a number of reasons.

For example, they may be waiting for a care package so they can return to their own home, or waiting for a bed in a care home.

Even before the pandemic there were problems associated with lengthy hospital stays. But the worsening situation with Covid-19 makes it vital that medically fit patients leave hospital if at all possible.

Dr Keith Reid, Swansea Bay’s Director of Public Health, said: “A hospital is the best place to be if you are seriously unwell.

“But it is not such a great place to be if you are well enough to be in the community.

“Despite stringent measures it is not possible to keep Covid out of our hospitals and sadly some people have succumbed to it as a result.

“There is also the risk of contracting other infections.”

There are well-documented problems associated with long-term hospital stays, such as loss of mobility and independence.

Dr Reid said that, with hospital visiting severely restricted because of high community infection rates, patients could also feel lonely and isolated.

“We would ask families with relatives in hospital who are no longer receiving active treatment to consider bringing them home, as home is much safer than hospital at the moment,” he added.

“We recognise that not all families will be in a position to do this. But if they are able to take their loved one home and help them on their journey to recovery, they will be doing them a great favour.

“The chance of them contracting Covid or other infection at home is far lower than in hospital, and home is a better environment for them to continue their recovery.

“Families who can do this would also be helping their local NHS at a time of great need.”

Please speak to the ward manager if you think you can bring your relative home.

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