Skip to content
Please donate

Getting help after hospital discharge

It's important that you get the care and support you need after being discharged from hospital.

How will I be assessed for help at home?

Many hospitals now use a 'discharge to assess' or 'home first' approach to hospital discharge planning as there's no longer a requirement to carry out a care needs assessment before you leave the hospital. An initial assessment will take place to ensure that you're discharged safely with an assessment of your long-term needs being carried out after a period of recovery. 

Hospital staff should make sure support services and any home adaptations are ready for you before you're sent home. If you need home adaptations, you may have to consider interim care in the meantime. 

It's a good idea to clarify any cost of services being offered when you're discharged, as there may be different rules in different areas. 

After a period of recovery at home, there'll be an assessment of your long-term needs, also referred to as a care needs assessment. Following this, you'll be involved in the creation of your care plan, and be given a named person who you can contact if you have any questions.

Find out more about the care needs assessment

Will I have to pay for help at home?

If you're found to have eligible care needs following an assessment of your long-term needs, you'll have a financial assessment to see if you’re eligible for financial support towards to the cost of care. If you're eligible for financial support, your local council will help to arrange services. If you'd prefer to arrange your own services, you can pay using direct payments.

If you aren’t eligible for financial support, you'll have to arrange and pay for your own services.

Find out more about paying for care at home

What are intermediate care and reablement services?

If there’s a possibility of you going to live in a care home permanently after a stay in hospital, staff should assess your needs and consider if you'd benefit from intermediate care services and reablement services. These services could allow you to make as full a recovery as possible and regain confidence before making a decision about your long-term care.

Intermediate care

Intermediate care is a type of short-term support that aims to help you be as independent as possible. It can be provided in a community hospital, care home or your own home. Before you leave the hospital, staff consider if you'd benefit from intermediate care services. If this is the case, staff set achievable goals with you, which you'll receive support to reach. This might involve health staff such as physiotherapists and/or social care staff, to help you to relearn skills you may have lost while unwell.


Reablement is a form of intermediate care focusing on helping you to learn or re-learn skills necessary for daily living. Social care staff support you at home by observing and guiding you to complete tasks such as washing, dressing and preparing a snack for yourself, rather than doing these tasks for you. The aim is to help rebuild your skills, improve your mobility and help rebuild your skills and confidence.

If you’re eligible, you’ll receive up to six weeks of reablement care after hospital discharge for free. Intermediate care including reablement services normally last no longer than six weeks, but can be as little as one or two weeks if you achieve your goals within this time.

Towards the end of your period of intermediate care or reablement, staff consider if you’re likely to make further progress. If you need care for longer than six weeks, you might have to pay for it.

If you're unlikely to benefit from further reablement support, they'll carry out a care needs assessment to see if you need social care or NHS support in the long term.

'Take your time to make the decision that is going to work for you'

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK Charity Director, shares her tips on what to do if it's been advised that you move from hospital into a care home.

How do I arrange my own home care after hospital discharge?

If you have eligible needs but aren’t eligible for financial support, you'll have to arrange your own services.

Even if you're not assessed as being eligible for help, you can still arrange your own home care. You should be offered information and advice to help reduce the risk of your needs getting worse or new needs developing.

You may only need help with domestic tasks such as shopping and light housework for a few weeks while you recover, especially if you live alone. Hospital staff should be able to suggest local organisations, such as your local Age UK, that can help with this by providing 'home from hospital support' on a free or paid-for basis. 

Find out what Age UK services are available in your area


  • Please enter a valid postcode

Phone icon We're here to help

We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local Age UKs.

Share this page

Last updated: Jun 21 2024

You might also be interested in...

Care plans

If you’re found to have care and support needs after your care needs assessment, you’ll get a care plan. This sets...

Care needs assessment

If you're finding it hard to manage and think you need social care, a care needs assessment is the first step. The...

Personalised care budgets

If you need help with day-to-day tasks at home, your local council may be able to help you pay for care. If you're...

Become part of our story

Sign up today

Back to top