President's Message

Welcome to the Dolphin Society website!

It has been a privilege to have been asked to be the President of the Dolphin Society for 2018/19, and to follow on with the good work undertaken by my predecessor, Vanessa Moon who continues to actively promote the Society.

Each President brings a slightly different emphasis to the way in which the Society approaches its charitable commitments during their term of office.  As a clinician working at Southmead Hospital and Bristol Royal Infirmary, I am acutely aware of the difficulties encountered by ward staff across the city, in discharging elderly and vulnerable Bristol patients who could be looked after in their own homes, if only simple adjustments and modifications, which would ease the task of daily living, could be made in a timely fashion. Delays incurred in mobilising social services can be considerable.

I met with Chris Benson, Director of Patient Care at St Peter’s Hospice, who has a similar problem. Efficient discharge from the Inpatient Unit is vital to maximise use of the Hospice’s 15 beds. Home adaptions allowing patients to remain and be cared for in their own homes, in dignity, is a vital aspect of hospice care. These adaptions can be simple items such as grab rails in bathrooms, or ramps to enable a patient to get out of the house in a wheelchair, making a huge difference to someone’s last weeks or months of life.

With the unanimous support of our Management Committee, The Dolphin Society, is funding a new initiative with We Care Home Improvements. This involves the provision of a fast track “Home from Hospital” service led by WeCare, delivered by a dedicated Home from Hospital technician (HfHT), a multi-skilled tradesperson experienced in installation of minor adaptations and repairs in the homes of older and disabled people, who will combine this with direct liaison with hospital caseworkers.

The HfHT, Pete Bryant is skilled in installation of the Dolphin Telecare (pendant) technology, which has been a central theme of the Society’s care in recent years. He is able to complete larger repairs when necessary and is trained in conducting home safety checks, giving information and advice and in the prescription/installation of simple equipment items such as rails and ramps. The Dolphin van will be registered with a waste license to assist in the clearance of household waste, which also delays hospital discharges.  

The majority of work is conducted within 48 hours of referral, however the HfHT will be able to respond to referrals within hours if necessary.  

During this year we will continue with our funding of other projects both through the Bristol Older People’s Funding Alliance, and on an individual basis, recent examples have included grants to the Marmalade Trust who support the lonely at Christmas, to the Childrens’ Scrapstore to trial inter-generational activities, to Bristol Black Carers and to Ambition Lawrence Weston. This will ensure The Society’s involvement in a diversity of charitable initiatives.

Finally, our thanks go to the National Lottery who have given us a grant to pay the salary of our Administrator, Sean Hollinswaite, who takes care of the day-to-day running of the Society. For a charity which exists on donations such funding is hugely important.

With warm regards,

Professor Frank CT Smith

President Dolphin Society