Planning to leave hospital
This explainer video provides information to help patients get ready to leave hospital and what to expect when preparing for discharge.We want every hour, every day, you spend in hospital to count towards getting you the care you need and for you to be able to leave hospital as soon as you are medically fit to do so. We also want to make sure we work efficiently so that we can reduce delays and care for as many people as possible.
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When you no longer need treatment at our hospital, your discharge plan will be put in place so you can go home. You may still need considerable rehabilitation or support to help with daily living, but this will generally be better provided at home or possibly in a community hospital, nursing home or care home.
Most people can return home, sometimes with a care package or adaptations made to their home, such as handrails and a key safe. However, some patients cannot return home immediately and may need a period of rehabilitation in a community rehabilitation unit or an assessment of their longer-term care needs in an interim unit. We aim to discharge people back to their home wherever possible.
With your permission, we will assess your needs and contact services you might need support from once you leave hospital. The assessments could be for social care, home assessment for any adaptations or eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare. We will explain your care needs, how we assess them and discuss the care options available to you.
Please let us know as soon as you can if your home is unsafe for you to go back to – for example if it's damp, dangerous, or a risk to your health, or if you think you need support at home. If you feel that you need to have some privacy to tell us about this, please let us know.
Please read the questions below, and if any of them raise concerns for you please tell a member of staff as soon as possible, so we can discuss care arrangements:
• do you have stairs in your home? If so, can you easily use them?
• will you be able to manage the journey from, for example, the bedroom to the toilet or from the kitchen to the living room?
• will you be able to get in and out of bed?
• is there a safe way for you to wash while you recover at home? Will you need some help with this?
• will you be able to dress yourself?
• will you need help with your medication when at home?
• are you registered with a GP?
• do you care for someone you live with? If so, will you still be able to care for them?
• when will you be able to go back to work? Talk to your hospital doctor about when you can return to work. If you need a medical certificate, the doctor looking after you will be able to arrange this for you.
If possible, ask your family or friends to help make it easier to go back home by, for example. bringing in clothes and shoes for you, putting the heating on, if needed, and making sure you have enough money for the first few days. It is also important that, where possible, someone can support you on the day you go home. Below it explains how we prepare for you to get ready to leave.
We will tell you when your treatment is due to end and when you would be considered well enough to leave hospital. This is called an estimated discharge date. We aim to tell you this within 48 hours of you being admitted and, if this changes, we will discuss this with you.
Please make sure you have arranged how you will get home. If you have a physical disability, then we can arrange transport for you. If you need support getting home then we can contact the British Red Cross or social services for you, and someone can help.
Please make sure you ask us for any medical certificates you may need, for example, if you need time off work to recover, before your day of discharge.
We try to discharge people from hospital in the morning, before midday. This means you have the best part of the day to settle into the next stage of your recovery. It also means that we make best use of our beds by ensuring they are ready for new patients.
You may be discharged into one of our discharge lounges, these are lounge rooms in the hospital where you can wait for your relatives to pick you up or your transport to arrive. There are a few things staff at the hospital need to do on the day you’re discharged:
1. make sure you have a copy of your on-going care plan, if you need one. If you are being discharged to a nursing home or care home, we will also give them a copy of the plan
2. ensure you have all the equipment you need and know how to use it. If you need on-going supplies, you should know where to get them and who to contact if you need help 3. give you any medication you need and make sure you know how and when to take it. You will receive at least two weeks supply of any new medication; your GP will be able to give you prescriptions for further supplies of medication
4. give you a copy of your ‘discharge summary’ and send one to your GP electronically. Your discharge summary describes the care you’ve had with us, the results of any tests and any medication you have been prescribed.
5. You should also know who to contact once you get home if you have any urgent questions or concerns. If you’re not sure, then phone the ward that discharged you.
About this page
- Last updated
- Author Giuseppe Prima