Going into and leaving hospital

"I’d like advice to help me manage my hospital stay."

Before you leave hospital

When you leave hospital, you go through a process called hospital discharge.

You’ll be considered for hospital discharge when you are ‘medically optimised’. This is when you no longer need to be treated as an inpatient at the hospital, and while you may not be fully recovered, you are stable enough to go home, or to another community setting to continue your care.

Step 1 - Checking the support you need

Before you leave hospital, the hospital team will need to consider if you are able to cope on your own once you are at home. They will ask you some questions, such as:

  • what you may need help with when you leave hospital
  • if your home environment is suitable for you at present
  • who you have in your support network that can help you when you leave hospital. For example, family, friends, care professionals, or other people in your community who normally support you.

If they feel that you will need some extra care and support, they will contact us to arrange a discharge assessment. The hospital team will let you know when and how your discharge assessment will take place.

Bringing someone with you

If you find it hard to understand things or explain your views and wishes, don’t worry. You can ask a family member or friend to attend your discharge assessment appointment with you. They can also take notes for you.

If you don’t know someone who can help, you can ask us to arrange for an independent advocate to support you during your assessment. An independent advocate is a trained professional who can help get your opinions heard.

Step 2 - Your discharge assessment

A support worker from our adult social care team will visit you on your ward to carry out your discharge assessment. If this is not possible, they’ll call you instead.

Your support worker will discuss your current circumstances and help you to create a care and support plan. This will make sure all the help and support you need is put in place ready for you to leave hospital.

The plan will include:

  • what treatment and care you need when you are at home
  • who’s in charge of your care and how you can contact them
  • when and how often you need care.

Step 3 - On the day you are leaving hospital

The person arranging your discharge should make sure you have:

  • a copy of your care and support plan - plus another one for your care home if relevant
  • any medicine or other supplies you need
  • leaflets and advice about your health condition, including things you should do and things to avoid
  • a letter for your GP (they may send this to your GP on your behalf)
  • appropriate clothes for you to wear home
  • transport arranged to take you home, or to where you are staying when you leave hospital
  • keys for your home, and money if you need it, for example if you are taking a taxi home
  • details of how to contact a district nurse if you need help, or know when to expect a visit.

They will also check that you can use any new equipment, such as crutches before you leave.

Practical things to remember to do before you leave

Pack up your belongings

Make sure you bedside locker is cleared out of anything you brought into hospital with you. Check you have things like your mobile phone or glasses.

Clothes, keys and money

You need to make sure you have clothes to go home in, including shoes and a coat. If you have family, friends or a carer visiting you they may be able to bring the things you need from home.

Check that you have your front door key and enough money for taxi fares. The person overseeing your hospital discharge can help with this.

Preparing your home for your return

Just as you prepared yourself for a stay in hospital, you’ll now need to prepare to go home. You may want to ask family, friends or a carer to help with things like:

  • switching the heating on
  • making your bed
  • getting basic food supplies, like milk and bread
  • preparing a meal for your return.

If you left your home in a hurry, and weren’t able to prepare - you may also ask them to make changes to your home to make it easier for you, such as:

  • moving furniture around
  • tidying your home
  • clearing paths.

Check out our guidance for making your home a safe environment.