“People don’t realise how unwell you can be and still be treated at home. But I think that people should be told!”
Following a fall and a stay in hospital, “Laura” developed a severe infection that required an intensive 14-week course of daily intravenous antibiotics. Laura had started her treatment in Exeter before being transferred to Barnstaple. After a couple of weeks, Laura was discharged and admitted to the virtual ward, and she started receiving her care at home in the Torrington area.
“It was so nice to come home. I felt like I had got part of my life back. I think that being in hospital you can become institutionalised very quickly. At home you are in your own surroundings and your own environment and I think this helps you to get better quicker. Also, friends and family can come and visit you whenever they want and not when someone else says they can.
“Until you are in the situation, you don’t know what care is available. I think people worry that there won’t be the equipment they need at home and things like that. People don’t realise how unwell you can be and still be treated at home. But I think that people should be told.
“Had I not been able to receive intravenous antibiotics at home, I would have been in hospital for 14 weeks, away from my home and my own environment. The only thing you don’t get at home is an ‘are you okay’ every five minutes. But you don’t need that. I know exactly who to call if I am not well. Every time I would much rather be at home
“It was killing ‘Joe’ (Laura’s husband) to keep coming to the hospital every day – it really was. Psychologically it makes a difference as well. Being a couple, we want to be together. I feel sure that Joe would have been ill by now if I had still been in hospital.
“Before I came home the community team did a thorough assessment of our house and living circumstances to make sure we would be safe to have care at home.
“It’s not just the district nurses either – you get physios, occupational therapists and other carers. You can even have someone through the night if you feel it’s necessary. There is always somebody there if you need them. You just don’t realise you can get all this.
“If someone asked me if I wanted to be in hospital or to receive care at home, my answer would be ‘I want to go home’.”