Local grant provides free personal alarm service in Cumbria

Welbeing will be able to help more people to leave hospital and return home, thanks to a grant from Eden District Council. Welbeing recently acquired Eden Housing Association’s alarm and response services in Eden and Carlisle.

The Rehabilitation Project has been designed to help patients who have had a fall, or similar trauma, which leads to a stay in hospital. When they are discharged from hospital, patients can now receive Welbeing’s alarm service for up to 13 weeks, free of charge.

The alarm is usually a pendant with an emergency button, worn around the neck or wrist. If there is a problem, users can press the button to be connected to a Welbeing operator who will be able to help.

The service complements other professional services and supports health staff in the hospital discharge planning process as well as paid carers and a patient’s family. This allows patients to adjust to being back home, increase their confidence and regain their independence.

At the end of the rehabilitation period, the client can either return their alarm unit or retain the equipment and transfer to Welbeing’s private service.

To be eligible, Eden residents must be in-patients being discharged from hospital, although the service is also open to patients where it can be shown that this would help to prevent a hospital admission.

Steve Smith, Welbeing’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “The NHS is in crisis and bed blocking is a huge issue so it’s great news that Welbeing has been given this grant. It means we can help more people to leave hospital and return home with a measure of safety.. We find that the majority of people would prefer to be in their own homes with their familiar surroundings and it usually helps to aid their recovery.”

Welbeing accepts referrals from hospital discharge teams from the Cumberland Infirmary and community hospitals in Penrith, Alston and Keswick, as well as from Eden Valley Hospice, Macmillan nurses, Penrith Day Hospice and other voluntary and community organisations.

One alarm service user’s family said: “Thank you for your help installing an alarm for dad when he was terminally ill. You gave us peace of mind in the knowledge that he could contact us, and indeed had to do so on one occasion before he was admitted to Eden Valley Hospice, where he died peacefully. You provide a wonderful service for the people of Eden – often at very difficult times for families.”