Homes for Cathy member ForHousing shares the story of Tom, who was previously homeless and has been supported by the housing association’s Discharge to Assess scheme, a collaboration between housing, health and social care in Salford to prevent people ending up back on the streets.
In July 2021, Tom was being treated at hospital following a fall. Tom said that he felt lonely and isolated on the ward. He couldn’t leave his bed or chat to others and this really affected him. He felt he couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel and faced a future of remaining in hospital as he needed ongoing treatment. The treatment Tom needed could normally be provided in the community, however, as Tom was homeless it wasn’t safe for him to be discharged as he required a safe, warm, and accessible home to recover fully.
Tom was referred to ForHousing’s Discharge to Assess programme from Salford City Council’s Hospital Discharge Team. Through this programme Tom has been given a temporary home for him to continue his treatment and tailored support he needed, which allowed him to be discharged from hospital. Tom says that he was so happy to be out of hospital. He described how frightening it was being on a ward during the current pandemic and how he was terrified of the very real possibility that he might not even make it out of hospital alive if he were to catch Covid-19.
After leaving the hospital with only a bag of clothes, the programme also gave Tom access to a personalisation fund to support him moving into his home. This includes everything that Tom needed to make a house a home, for example an oven, microwave, fridge, bed, wardrobe, towels and numerous other items which Tom didn’t have as he was homeless. Tom told us it was one of the nicest places he has ever lived.
The property was chosen to suit Tom’s needs when it came to the care required for his recovery. For example, the property contains a wet room allowing Tom to keep himself clean. He explained that this was vital as some of his mobility issues were large sores on his legs which need to be always kept clean. It would have been impossible for him to use a bath or shower.
Tom’s treatment required three visits a week from nurses to change dressings on his legs. By having a home, this has meant his treatment has been able to continue in a safe environment to ensure a much quicker recovery for Tom.
The programme has made a massive difference to Tom’s life, both physically and mentally. When he first left hospital, he could barely stand, but now he can walk unaided due to the support and treatment he has received. Tom told us that he has now been able to reduce the nurses’ visits to once per week.
In addition to the ongoing medical support, Tom also received support to improve his overall wellbeing through rehabilitation. This includes assistance with gaining skills on how to manage a home and bills and connections to the local community.
Tom has made lots of friends since moving into his home, something which he says he hasn’t been able to do up until now due to being homeless. He describes how much of a difference it makes to be able to chat to a neighbour. Those small interactions with others really mean a lot to Tom, he no longer feels lonely.
Tom says that he has been given a lifeline, and his life has already massively improved. His physical health is getting better by the day, he feels part of a community and for the first time feels positive about his future.
Read more about ForHousing’s Discharge to Assess scheme here.