Leaving hospital

Leaving hospital can be daunting. This page gives information on what should happen when you leave hospital. There’s support to help you with day to day tasks if you need it. Read more tips below on how to get ready to return home.

Hospital discharge

The process of leaving hospital when you are well enough is called hospital discharge. The staff on your hospital ward should discuss your needs with you, your relatives and carers. They will work with you to plan your discharge before you leave hospital.

You shouldn’t be discharged from hospital until you are:

  • declared medically fit by your consultant
  • given written information that explains the support you’ll get when discharged
  • it’s safe for you to leave

Planning your return home

Newcastle Hospitals Trust has top tips on how to stay mobile and active during your stay in hospital. This will help you get ready to return home and recover well.  They have a helpful video, below, which gives you more information about getting ready to go home from hospital.

Practical things to think about before you leave hospital

If you’ve been in hospital for a period of time after an illness or injury getting a bit of extra support can help to boost your recovery, re-build your confidence, and give you a better chance of living safely at home again.

Clothes, keys and money

You need to make sure that you have clothes to go home in, including shoes and a coat. You could ask friends, family or a neighbour to bring in what you need from home.

Check that you have got your front door key and enough money for things like taxi fares. If you have any difficulties, talk to the person at the hospital who is overseeing your discharge, so that they can help you to sort things out.

Prepare your house for your return

Before you leave hospital, you might want to ask friends, family or a neighbour to help get your house ready for you. They could help with things such as:

  • switch the heating on
  • make up your bed
  • get in basic food supplies, such as bread and milk
  • prepare a meal for your return
  • move furniture to make it easier for you to move around and recover at home. For example, move your bed downstairs
  • make your house safer to avoid any slips, trips or falls

Equipment to help you at home

To help you recover at home or to make life easier you may need to make some changes to your home. For example, if you will struggle to use the stairs a commode could help.  Read more on InformationNOW to find out about:

Equipment, aids or adaptations that could help you to live well at home

Newcastle City Loan Equipment Service provides equipment to help with your daily living and nursing needs at home. This is a free service. You borrow equipment for as long as you need it. When it’s no longer needed they will collect the equipment, clean it and reuse it.

Your Equipment Newcastle helps you find and buy equipment to improve your daily living in just 3 steps.

Telecare, telehealth and personal alarms can help to give you and the people who care for you peace of mind. It can be used to help remind you to take medication, or call for help in an emergency.

Plan support at home with your family and friends

It’s important to speak to your family, friends and carers to find out if they can help you while you recover at home. For example, they may be able to help with shopping or meals.

If you’re going to look after someone who cannot manage without your help and support, you need to think about how much time you have available to help. Make sure that you still look after yourself.

Support is available for carers in Newcastle.

Read more on InformationNOW about Looking after someone

Local support services when leaving hospital

Home from hospital and Community Support project is for people over 55 years old discharged from hospital without formal support. A volunteer can help you to to recover at home safely after leaving hospital. To use this service you need a referral from the NHS Hospital Discharge Team at the RVI or Freeman hospital. You are given a flexible, short-term support to meet your needs. A trained volunteer can help you with things like:

  • collecting food or prescriptions for you
  • friendly conversations and emotional support
  • practical tasks such as helping to fill in forms and making sure your home is safe

Read more on InformationNOW about local support that can help you with:


Coming home from Hospital

The discharge process

It the hospital’s responsibility to make sure that you don’t leave hospital unless arrangements for your support at home have been made. You should be given the name and details of the person coordinating your discharge. They are sometimes called Discharge Coordinators or Ward Coordinators.

If you have new needs for support after your stay in hospital, support can be funded for up to 4 weeks under the Hospital Discharge Support Funding arrangements. Once you’re discharged, if you need support after 4 weeks you will be assessed by a member of the Social Work Team. Your eligibility for Continuing Health Care (CHC) will also be considered at this point.

An independent advocate can help you to get your views across during the assessment.

Leaving hospital with support

There are a number of ways that you may be supported to help you recover well. Before you leave hospital the staff will work with you to understand what you need to support you when you leave hospital. This support could include:

  • Fitting equipment or aids to make your home safer and easier to live in
  • Home care support agencies can support you at home with personal care such as bathing, dressing and making meals.
  • Reablement Services is short term support in your home. Staff will help you regain your independence and confidence to continue living at home
  • Rehabilitation services where you live for up to 6 weeks to receive specialist support, to help you recover further, before you return home
  • A care home placement so you can be assessed further, to find out if you can go back to your home
  • District nursing support
  • Occupational therapy or physiotherapy to continue your rehabilitation when you return home

Your wider social care needs will be assessed after your discharge from hospital. For example, this may include support to socialise or get out and about.

Reablement Service

The Reablement Service is a free service for people who are recovering from an illness or injury, following a hospital stay or a crisis.

Staff work with you in your home, to build your confidence and help you to develop the skills you need to stay there. This can include help to improve your strength and mobility so you can independently:

  • get washed and dressed
  • prepare food
  • move around your home

This support is available for 1 week when you leave hospital. During this time staff will assess you to understand your needs. If you need more support they will create a plan with you.

Hospital staff will refer you to reablement if you need this support. Or a professional can refer you such as your doctor or GP, or Adult Social Care at Newcastle City Council.

Rehabilitation service or Community recovery

Rehabilitation is a short-term service. You live in service, where you can stay for up to 6 weeks. It’s a 24 hour support. Their specialised team support you to recover after leaving hospital. You will be assessed to find out if you need this support. They can help you to:

  • become more independent
  • improve your mobility
  • help you to make choices
  • look after yourself

There are 3 rehabilitation centres:


On the day of your discharge

The person arranging your discharge should make sure that you have:

  • transport arranged to get you home
  • carers available if needed
  • notified your GP in writing
  • any medication or other supplies you’ll need
  • appropriate clothes to wear
  • money and keys for your home

If you are being discharged to a care home: the care home should be told the date and time of your discharge. They should have a copy of your care plan.

Information and advice

The team of staff who care for you in hospital should give you information and advice about your particular medical condition, including things to do and things to avoid. They may also give you leaflets or recommend a self-help group that you can contact for further information.

Make sure that you understand what you have got to do; don’t be afraid to ask for more explanation if necessary, or to ask for information to be written down. There is often lots to take in on the day you are discharged, so it can be helpful to have this sort of information written down for future reference.

If you would like further information, you can contact NHS 111. They provide a 24-hour telephone health information and advice service.

The hospital staff will inform your GP that you have left hospital and will give them details of your discharge date, diagnosis, treatment and medication.

Your GP will also be told about the arrangements that have been made for your care. This information should be sent to your GP within 24 hours of you leaving hospital.

Adult Social Care at Newcastle City Council can offer advice or support, if you’re unsure who to contact.

Disability North offer advice and support when leaving hospital


If you have any concerns about any of your medicines after leaving hospital, you can call the pharmacy department of the hospital where you were admitted or contact the ward that you stayed on for further advice.

If you are a patient of either Newcastle or Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trusts, you can call their helplines to speak to someone about your concerns.

Medicines Information Patient Helpline (Newcastle NHS Foundation Trust)

Patient Information Centre (Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust).

Other useful information

Telecare services or personal alarms are available for your peace of mind. They allow you to call for help if needed. Regular calls can be arrange to check on you.

Hospital discharge arrangements – Age UKs factsheet

Helping you through a hospital stay: Advice from older people – Social Care Institute for Excellence booklet

Read our  Self care and disability information which covers reablement and rehabilitation as well as living with a long term medical condition

Last updated: April 25, 2024