A CURRY-loving man from Kidlington is being helped to enjoy his favourite spicy dishes once more thanks to a new scheme to reduce bed blocking in hospitals.

Mike Harris is among the first to experience the Home First project – a joint initiative by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group –which was rolled out last week.

The 69-year-old returned home following a six-week stay in the John Radcliffe Hospital, last Monday.

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The service helps patients leaving hospital find what support they need to regain independence and confidence, speeding up when they are able to leave.

Home First lead, Sally Steele, said: “We met Mike in his home on Monday, the day he was discharged from hospital, to establish how we could support him in regaining as much independence as possible.

“Our reablement assessor Maariyah, and occupational therapist Kate, talked through with Mike what’s important to him and how our team could help."

She said he had been finding taking the right medication at the right time difficult and wanted support to put in place a new way of doing this.

She added: "He also likes cooking his own meals, we’re helping him adapt so curry will soon be back on his lunchtime menu.”

The team have developed a reablement plan for his first few days of being home.

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Ms Steele explained: “This includes assistive technology to help with medication. Reablement support workers visiting three times a day to reestablish meal preparation skills and routines, and a request for Age UK to come and meet Mike to look at how they can help.

“We’re confident that with this support, Mike will achieve his goal of getting back out into the community to meet with family and friends. He’ll also be cooking his favourite curry again very soon.”

The Home First team are also working closely with Mr Harris to see how he is progressing and gradually reduce hands-on support as he moves towards independent living once again.

Ms Steele said: “We’ll regularly review his progress during the reablement period. Close working with our colleagues in GP’s and community health teams will also be key to sustaining Mike’s wellbeing in his own home.”

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The Home First team is a collaboration consisting of representatives from a wide range of health, therapy, voluntary and social care background.

Its aim is to get people home from hospital more quickly by getting the right professional or volunteer to meet them in their home on the day of discharge or soon after.

The pilot project is covering Banbury, Bicester, Kidlington and Woodstock and will be supporting residents from both acute and community hospitals.