Patient support hub prevents isolation

Southampton Hospital Charity 

Isolation is one of the toughest consequences of Covid, with visitor restrictions in place at hospitals and those less seriously ill having to isolate at home. The hub is a volunteer led service that was set up in March 2020 to provide help for those fighting Covid alone.  

Emma Squires, Patient Support Hub lead at UHS

The project, known as the Patient Support Hub, is thought to be the first of its kind in the country. It offers a range of services to patients who are either isolated or need extra support before, during and after their care at UHS. 

Set up during the first wave of COVID-19 initially to support a number of patients who were shielding due to medical conditions, it has grown into a wider support network which brings together volunteers and community providers to focus on patients’ wider needs. 

Since its launch the Hub has taken more than 3,500 calls from patients asking for advice, help and support and 58 volunteers have given more than 330 hours of free service a week. Each week the volunteers are in contact with patients with a range of needs, helping to ensure they are supported in their own homes following their discharge from hospital. 

The project now offers services including delivery of food parcels and shopping, collection of prescriptions, befriending and signposting to other services in the community.

Emma Squires, Patient Support Hub lead at UHS said: 

“What we are trying to do is help those who fall into the middle ground of being clinically well enough for discharge but who would benefit from a bit of extra practical and emotional support. 

“That may include food parcels until they are back on their feet, an ear to listen and perhaps help to signpost to well-established community volunteering services that could help with longer-term support. Many patients refer to the service as a ‘lifeline to the outside world.” 

“The Hub is so important to people in the community. It is a network of things that all have to add up to make it successful and the Hub seems to bring all of that together for the benefit of people who need that support.” 

Tony Smyth, volunteering at the Hub since the first wave