Skip to content
Please donate

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.

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

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.

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.

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

Will I be eligible 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. For example, they may discover that you need help with things like personal care or preparing and eating meals.

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’re eligible for financial support, 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 happens 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, ask about intermediate care or re-ablement services. They could allow you to make as full a recovery as possible before making such a decision.

Intermediate care services

Intermediate care can be offered free of charge for up to six weeks. Your needs should be assessed, and then staff will agree some goals with you that you hope to achieve within a specified time.

To help you reach those goals, you may be offered services from NHS staff such as physiotherapists or occupational therapists, along with social care support if you need it. You can receive services in your own home, in a care home, or at a day or community hospital.

Re-ablement services

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 encouraging 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. If you’re offered re-ablement services to help you maintain or regain the ability to live in your own home, this should be provided free of charge for up to six weeks.

When your period of intermediate care or re-ablement finishes, you’ll be assessed to see whether you need any ongoing social care or NHS support

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.

Age NI Advice Service

Every year our Advice Service deals with thousands of calls from older people in need. Call us today to make sure that you are receiving all the help and support available to you.

Call freephone 0808 808 7575
Monday - Friday 9am – 5pm 


Last updated: Aug 01 2022

Become part of our story

Sign up today

Back to top