A NEW service is being launched in Huntingdonshire that will aim to help older, isolated and vulnerable people who are unwell stay in their homes rather than being admitted to hospital.

While out-reach health services have been available for some time to people coming home from hospital, Help at Home, which is launched on Thursday, is more comprehensive, according to NHS Cambridgeshire, which is funding the service.

The service will be an extension of Care Network's Welcome Home from Hospital service which already provides practical help, such as shopping and collecting prescriptions, to people who may be at risk due to being unable to get out of the house.

The more comprehensive service will be available to people who have not been admitted to hospital and will begin taking referrals from Thursday.

Hilary Johnys, senior coordinator for Care Network, said: "Clients could already get up to three weeks free practical help if they have been in hospital, but now we're also offering three weeks support for people who are unwell at home.

"In addition to this we're offering help with one off tasks that people need - like changing a light bulb.

"Tasks like these, if people are unable to do them, can make a huge difference and enable people to remain independent in their own homes."

She added that, for example, if someone with emphysema developed a chest infection and couldn't get out to collect their prescription or shop for food, then a volunteer would be able to help with these tasks and provided reassurance by calling in to check the person was OK until they recovered.

"We're also looking for more volunteers," she said. "It's a unique volunteering opportunity which only commits you for a one off visit or for 2-3 weeks each time, and it can work around your other commitments - you tell us your availability."

INFORMATION: To find out more or to volunteer, call Care Network on 01223 714433 or visit www.care-network.org.uk