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Getting help after hospital discharge

It's important that you get the support you need after being discharged from hospital. If you’re worried about having to go into a care home when you leave hospital, there are options to explore before reaching this decision.

How will I be assessed for help?

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

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. . If you need home adaptations, you may have to consider interim care in the meantime. You will be involved in the creation of your care plan, and be given a named contact for if you have any questions.

Will I have to pay for help at home?

If you're found to have eligible care needs, you'll have a financial assessment to see if you’re eligible for financial support towards to the cost of care. If you are eligible for financial support, your local council will help to arrange services. If you 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 assess your needs and 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 has similar aims to intermediate care but focuses 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 6 weeks care after hospital discharge for free Intermediate care and reablement services normally last no longer than 6 weeks, but can be as little as 1 or 2 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 not they will 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 homecare 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 your care needs assessment shows that you aren’t eligible for help, you can still arrange your own home care. Staff should offer 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 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’ on a free or paid for basis. These services may help to get your home ready for your return and assist with non-medical tasks such as shopping and light housework.

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 140 local Age UKs.

Please help us be there for older people in need

By donating today, you could help us answer more calls to our advice line, campaign harder for older people’s rights and fair treatment and provide regular friendship calls to people who are desperately lonely.

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Last updated: Apr 28 2022

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