Hi I ‘m Moyra Riseborough and I am carrying out an independent evaluation of the Hospital to Home project. I started doing the evaluation last year and I will complete the work sometime in May. I spend my working life carrying out research for different customers and although I specialise in older age issues I get very varied commissions.
Hospital to Home is an interesting project to evaluate because it is very innovative. For example, several Age UKs in other parts of the country run projects called Hospital to Home that aim to help people obtain the advice, support, services, equipment and adaptations they need in order to leave hospital and move back to their homes. However none of these projects focus on volunteers who are working alongside hospital staff with patients on particular wards over a period time.
It’s also great for me to be working on something not too far from my home in Northumberland. My other work at the moment involves a lot of travel around the UK.
What is evaluation?
In case you don’t know much about what evaluations are, they usually involve comparing what actually takes place against what was planned or hoped for from a project. So I always start by looking at what the project’s a very interesting project to evaluate because there are so many strands to it and because it is very innovative. There are other projects in the UK that have similar titles but they don’t do the same thing. For example, several Age UKs in other parts of the country run projects called Hospital to Home that aim to help people obtain the advice, support, services, equipment and adaptations they need in order to leave hospital and move back to their homes. However none of these projects focus on volunteers who are working alongside hospital staff with patients on particular wards over a period time.
I set out to do first although in almost all the cases I have researched projects are never exactly as planned! There are always lessons from this that will help the organisations concerned to work out how to plan better for the next project.
There are usually some really good examples of how a project brought some positive benefits so I am looking for evidence of what worked really well and what could have been done better with hindsight. There are specific things too that the project aimed to tackle such as encouraging older people in hospital to eat and making it easier for patients to socialise. I have been interviewing volunteers and staff to find out from them how they think the project has made a difference to patients. Then there are the reasons why people volunteer and the benefits people think they received from the volunteering experience.
What I am doing
Not surprisingly I am collecting and reading lots of information and background. I have also been interviewing a number of people to find out what they think. I am also looking at notes from meetings between volunteers and staff to see what they have said already about their experiences.
As well as individual face to face interviews I have interviewed some people on the phone and later this week I will be holding a group discussion with a group of Hospital to Home volunteers. Group discussions are a great way to get people to compare their views and experiences so I am looking forward to having a lively discussion.
I will be writing a draft report in the next couple of weeks and I will add to it as new information comes along. Most of the data collection is nearly finished with the Age UK Northumberland, Age UK North Tyneside and Hospital to Home volunteers but interviews have not started with the ward staff and NHS Trust staff.
Do you want to contribute?
If you have been involved in the Hospital to Home project and I have not managed to interview you why not send me an email telling me your views about the project and what you think has worked really well?
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Riseborough Research and Consultancy Associates