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.
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.
What will hospital staff do to prepare me for discharge?
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
How am I assessed for home care 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 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.
What support can I receive when I get home from hospital?
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 re-ablement services. They could allow you to make as full a recovery as possible before making such a decision.
Intermediate care and re-ablement services
- Intermediate care, including re-ablement, 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.
- Re-ablement has similar aims to intermediate care but focuses on helping you to learn or re-learn skills necessary for daily living. Specially trained 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 confidence, improve your mobility and let you see what you’re capable of doing. in your own home and help rebuild your skills and confidence.
Intermediate care and re-ablement services normally last no longer than 6 weeks. They can be as little as 1 or 2 weeks if you achieve your goals within this time. They must be provided free of charge for up to and including the first 6 weeks.
As the end of your period of intermediate care or re-ablement approaches, staff consider if you are likely to make further progress and if not, carry out a needs assessment to see if you need social care or NHS support in the long term.
What should I do next?
- Review your hospital care plan and keep it in a safe place.
- Make a list of questions for hospital staff.
- Organise for someone to pick you up from hospital or check if the hospital can organise for transport.
For more information call Age UK on 0800 055 6112
More information you might find useful