Leaving hospital can be just as daunting as going into hospital for some people. This section gives information on what should happen when you leave hospital and some tips on how to prepare for your return home.
If you’ve had a stay in hospital and are ready to be discharged, 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.
The process of leaving hospital once you are well enough is called hospital discharge. The staff on the ward should discuss your needs with you, and your relatives and carers, and 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.
Clothes, keys and money
You need to make sure that you have clothes to go home in, including shoes and a coat. Often visitors can help by bringing 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.
Preparing the house for your return
Before you leave hospital, you might want to ask friends and family to help with things such as:
- switching the heating on
- making up your bed
- getting in basic food supplies, such as bread and milk
- preparing a meal for your return
You can make changes to your home so it is easier for you to move round. For example, moving your bed downstairs or fitting equipment that can help prevent slips, trips and falls.
You can buy special equipment to help you, such as a bath seat or a walking frame.
Your Equipment Newcastle helps you find and buy equipment to improve your daily living in just 3 steps.
The British Red Cross hire out small pieces of equipment, such as commodes and wheelchairs at a low cost.
Planning 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 if you need it. Read more on InformationNOW about Looking after someone
Coming home from Hospital
The discharge process
It is important that your house is ready for your return. You may be worried that you’ve left your house in a mess, especially if you had to go into hospital unexpectedly. If this concerns you, maybe family, friends or neighbours can go in and tidy up for you.
It is the hospital’s responsibility to ensure 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 following your stay in hospital, support will 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. Eligibility for Continuing Health Care will also be considered at this point.
If you would like help putting your views across during the assessment, you might want to have an independent advocate help you.
Leaving hospital with support
- Equipment or aids to make your home safer and easier to live in
- Home care
- Reablement Services or Intermediate Care which help you to regain your independence and confidence and stay living at home
- A short stay in a Rehabilitation service
- 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. This may include for example support to socialise or get out and about.
The Reablement Service is a free service that provides personal care and help with daily activities, usually for up to 6 weeks if you’ve just come out of hospital or following a crisis.
The service can help you regain your confidence and skills to carry out daily activities independently. Reablement can help with personal care such as bathing and dressing, help with daily living activities and other practical tasks such as preparing food.
Referrals to Reablement are usually made through a GP or through a Social Worker at Community Health & Social Care Direct.
Rehabilitation is a short-term service. It’s a 24 hour support service where you can stay for up to 6 weeks. 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:
- Connie Lewcock Resource Centre in Lemington
- Byker Lodge
- Eden Court (part of Wheatfield Care Home) for people with medical support needs
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 also be told the date and time of your discharge and have a copy of the 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.
Community Health and Social Care Direct 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: August 4, 2023