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Leaving hospital

No one enjoys having to stay in hospital and it’s understandable to want to know your discharge date as soon as possible. Your health and recovery is the priority for hospital staff.

What will hospital staff do to prepare me for discharge?

You shouldn’t be sent home until agreed support is in place, services are ready to start, any adaptations have been made and appropriate equipment has been delivered or installed.

Before you leave the hospital, the member of staff responsible for your discharge should make sure:

  • you have clothes to go home in and front door keys
  • you have enough money for short-term needs
  • there’s someone collecting you, or a taxi or hospital transport is booked
  • you and/or your carer understand any new medications you’ve been given and you have a supply to take home
  • you and/or your carer can use any new equipment aids with confidence
  • if you need incontinence products, a supply has been arranged
  • your GP has been informed of your discharge, and any help you need from a district nurse has been arranged.

If health and social care staff believe you may need care and support when you leave hospital, they will carry out a care needs assessment to decide what help you may need at home.

How am I assessed for homecare support?

If you have a care needs assessment, hospital staff will look at your health and care needs, as well as the emotional and social side of your life. The aim will be to help you to live independently in your own home for as long as possible.

If you’re eligible for help, staff will make sure support, services and any home adaptations are ready for you before you are sent home. You will be told who to contact about your care plans or services. For example, they may discover that you need help with things like personal care or preparing and eating meals.

If you have a carer, they are also entitled to a separate care assessment and there may be support available for them too.

If you are deemed to have eligible care needs, you will then have a financial assessment to see if you’re eligible for financial support. If you are eligible, your local authority will help to arrange services. If you aren’t eligible for financial support, you will have to arrange your own services to meet your needs.

After the assessment, you should be given a written care plan showing what help you’ll get and details of you should contact after you’re discharged.

If your care needs assessment shows that you aren’t eligible for help, you can still arrange your own home care. 

Can I arrange my own home care after leaving hospital?

If your care needs assessment shows that you aren’t eligible for help, you can still arrange your own home care. You may only need help with domestic tasks for a few weeks while you recover, especially if you live alone. Hospital staff may have organised or suggested local organisations that can help.

Your local Age UK and other voluntary organisations may offer ‘home from hospital support’. These services may help to get your home ready for your return and assist with non-medical tasks such as shopping and light housework.

Age UK hospital discharge services

What support can I receive when I get home?

If you go home and support has been arranged for you, social services must check it’s still right for you within a reasonable time frame. After this, your care plan should be reviewed at least once a year or more often if needed.

If, at any time, you find that the support services aren’t suitable, you should contact social services and ask for a review of your care plan.

If there’s a possibility of you going to live in a care home permanently after a stay in hospital, you should have been considered for intermediate care and reablement services. They could allow you to make as full a recovery as possible before making such a decision. You will also be considered if hospital staff think these services will help you recover further once you no longer need hospital care.

Find out more about intermediate care and reablement

What should I do next?

  1. Review your hospital care plan and keep it in a safe place.
  2. Make a list of questions for hospital staff.
  3. Organise for someone to pick you up from hospital or check if the hospital can organise for transport.

For more information call the Age UK Advice Line on 0800 678 1602.
We’re open 8am to 7pm, every day of the year.

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Last updated: Feb 12 2020

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