After a long spell in hospital the thought of going back home and coping with ordinary life can be daunting at first.

The sudden switch from being in bed for most of the day and having things done for you to having to do everything for yourself again can make even the most mundane task seem mountainous.

Hilda Constable is the first patient to try out a pilot project organised by nurses at Southlands Hospital in Shoreham.

The project, which started this week, gives patients preparing to go home the chance to carry out basic jobs and tasks while in hospital to get them used to carrying them out again.

Mrs Constable has been in hospital since the middle of December following a hip replacement operation.

She had an accident on her motorised buggy outside Goring library and broke her hip.

Mrs Constable was worried about going home after being immobile for so long and so was keen to try out the new project.

Her arrival at Cedar Ward was marked with a presentation of flowers from nurses on the scheme.

Mrs Constable will stay at the unit for two weeks while she is encouraged and helped to regain her independence.

Up to 15 people at a time will take part in the project and each one will have an action programme tailored to suit their individual needs.

Surroundings on the ward have been designed to look as much like home as possible.

Mrs Constable and other patients will be encouraged to help with the domestic chores in the unit such as cooking and given help with other tasks such as dressing.

Jeannie Baumann, director of clinical services, said: "This is a very exciting project which will greatly benefit the patient.

"The decision as to whether a patient can be discharged from hospital often depends on their ability to do simple tasks such as dressing which may have become harder following their illness.

"With intensive support they can gain new skills giving them the confidence to live in their own homes."

Worthing and Southlands Hospitals NHS Trust has been given £125,000 by West Sussex Health Authority to set up the service.

The nurses running the scheme are supported by a team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitcians and social workers.