A SCHEME aimed at keeping older people out of hospital and living independently in their own homes has been launched in St Helens.

The Staying Home Project is a joint venture between Helena Partnerships, the council and Halton and St Helens Voluntary and Community Action.

It will see staff and volunteers visiting homes across the borough to help reduce the risk of injuries or illness that may lead to a stay in hospital.

The teams will do everything from adapting homes and removing potential trip hazards to helping pensioners get access to services and benefits.

The camapign will aim to ease the burden on the NHS.

Helena director Gill Healey explained: “Far too often older people are forced to go into hospital due to factors that could have easily been avoided.

“Not only does this prove traumatic to them and often leads to them having to go into full time care it is a big strain on the public purse.

“By going into homes and chatting to people we will be able to identify risks and needs that we can fix to enable them to continue to live happily and independently in the homes they love.”

Tony Heaton, aged 67, from Haydock, was helped by the project after suffering a heart attack.

The project team arranged to have central heating and draft excluders fitted in his home along with a number of adaptations.

He said: “When I came home from hospital I had no heating, electricity or hot water I honestly don’t know what I would have done without their help. It has changed my life.”

If you would like to find out more about becoming a volunteer for the Staying Home Project and helping older people in St Helens live independently in their homes then call Chris Lamb on 078 5028 8517 or email chris.lamb@helenapartnerships.co.uk