The essential journalist news source
Safe hospital discharge for Essex residents thanks to Charis funding platform

A white text on an orange backgroundDescription automatically generated with medium confidence

Essex residents benefit from safe, fast and effective hospital discharge thanks to Charis' instant access funding support platform

Charis Shop - which provides hospital discharge teams with immediate access to funds to help them discharge a person safely home - is having a positive impact on reducing the length of stay in hospital for mid and south Essex residents.

The scheme, co-funded between Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System and Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, has seen Integrated Discharge Teams (IDT) reduce the length of patients' stays in hospital beds, minimise the risk of being re-admitted, and reduce safety concerns. Overall, patients were able to return to their own homes sooner, supporting faster recovery and freeing up hospital beds for those who need them.

When a person is medically fit to go home, discharge is often delayed due to small but significant issues with being safe at home. The Integrated Discharge Team (IDT) seeks to mitigate all risks associated with discharge home, which can sometimes conflict with a patient's own wishes.

For example, patient ‘A' had a history of mild dementia, which meant that they often forgot they had already taken prescribed insulin and medication - there was a high risk of them taking the medication again and overdosing. Through the Charis Shop, the IDT purchased a lockable cash tin to store unopened insulin pens in the fridge, as well as a digital safe that was used for the medications that did not require refrigeration, and the key to the cash tin in the fridge. With an effective system in place for the supporting care agency and the district nursing team, who were both given the digital safe code, the discharge team were confident that the patient was no longer at risk of overdosing.

"The patient had no food in the house, no access to any funds to buy some food, and no friends or family close by who could step in to help," commented Charmaine Duce, interim general manager of Integrated Care Services, Care Group 4. "Through the Charis Shop, we were able to issue shopping vouchers, which our team used on behalf of patient ‘A' to put food into their fridge and cupboards. To have immediate access to this funding for both the medication safes and the food made the difference between a same-day discharge, as opposed to delaying the discharge and sending them to a secondary non-acute placement."

Since signing up to the Charis Shop platform in May 2023, MSEFT IDT has, to date, spent over £8000 on essential items to support vulnerable patients and facilitate a safe and effective discharge back to their home environment, minimising the risk of readmission. £6,400 of this included items such as furniture, bedding, supermarket shopping and even clothing.

"We are able to use this facility to support patients to leave hospital care as soon as they are fit for discharge," continued Charmaine Duce. "Staying in an acute bed longer than is necessary can be detrimental to wider health and wellbeing. People can struggle to return home due to finances, environment, emotional well-being and access to basics, including food, warmth and wider community assets. We can support them in maintaining as much independence in the community as possible, with additional services facilitating this."

Charis worked with the Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust as part of its Warm Home Prescription initiative, which gives hospital discharge teams instant access to emergency funding and vouchers for essential items that facilitate the discharge process, getting patients back to their own homes quickly and safely. 

"Often the smallest, lowest cost items can make the difference to someone who just wants to get back to their own home after a stay in hospital, and Charis' solution is able to remove the time-consuming and lengthy processes traditionally associated with accessing funding," added Charis CEO and Chairman, Graham Ayres. "Here at Charis, we understand the implicit link between poverty, vulnerability, and the strong correlation between physical and mental health. Creating a platform specifically for the Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust's discharge team has given them that immediate access without compromising on its need to comply with statutory administrative legislation, which is built into the back end by our team here at Charis. The success of the scheme to date after such a short time highlights the urgent need to streamline funding distribution in this area of healthcare on a UK-wide basis."

Charis Grants Ltd. is a privately owned company established in 2003 to facilitate the distribution of funds and grants by energy companies, charities, housing associations and other bodies, such as the Citizens Advice, which help and support vulnerable people in the community. 


For further press information, please contact:

Kate Ashley-Norman


T: 01733 890836