News

New Carers UK Guide to Coming out of hospital

It can be a very worrying time if you are thinking about caring for someone who is coming out of hospital and who can no longer care for themselves in the same way as before.

Deciding to care or continue caring for someone who is coming out of hospital and who can no longer care for themselves in the same way as before can be very difficult.

You may not have considered yourself a carer until now and so will need to come to terms with a completely new situation – perhaps, for example, bringing home an older relative who used to live alone. Or you may have been caring for someone at home but are now unsure whether you can provide the extra care they will need after their hospital stay.

This section outlines the steps that should be followed before the person you care for is discharged from hospital.


The discharge procedure

Each hospital will have its own discharge policy based on guidance from the Government. You can request a copy of the hospital’s discharge policy from the ward manager or from the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) department of the hospital.

Discharge planning starts as soon as the person you care for is admitted to hospital. It is important to let the hospital staff know as early as possible if you are a carer or thinking of taking on the role. A discharge coordinator (or ward care coordinator) should be available to coordinate the planning process. They will act as a key person for you to contact to find out what the discharge plans are.

What should happen before the person I care for is discharged?

When the person you care for is nearing their expected date of discharge the following steps should be taken:

  • An assessment should be carried out to see if they are medically fit to be discharged.
  • A discharge assessment should be carried out to see if they need support once discharged.
  • A carer’s assessment should be carried out (or at least arranged), to see whether you as a carer need support once the person you care for is discharged .
  • A written care plan should be given to the person you care for (and yourself if you have had your own carer’s assessment), which outlines the support required and how this will be provided.
  • The support outlined in the care plan should be put in place.

What should happen on the day the person I care for is discharged?

You and the person you care for should expect the following type of arrangements to be made for the day of discharge:

  • Appropriate transport should be organised if it is required.
  • You should both be given copies of your care or support plans.
  • A discharge letter should be sent to the patient’s GP within 24 hours.
  • Medication and any equipment needed at home should be dispensed to the patient, as well as instructions and information about its use.
  • Any necessary support should be put in place to start on the day of discharge.
  • A discharge ‘lounge’ (or similar space) should be available for use in the hospital while waiting for transport, medication etc.

back to top


The discharge assessment

The discharge assessment should look to see whether the person you care for needs any of the following:

  • Intermediate or reablement care
  • NHS continuing healthcare or NHS funded nursing care
  • Other NHS services
  • Community care services from the local authority

You can read more about these different forms of care and support in our coming out of hospital factsheet, which will be available shortly.

back to top


Discharge from a mental health facility

If the person you care for is discharged from a mental health facility there may be specialist support that is available to them in the community.

There are also special rules that apply to hospital discharge where the person you care for has been detained under the Mental Health Act.

You can read more about this in our coming out of hospital factsheet, which will be availble shortly.

Find us

Southwark Carers
3rd Floor, Walworth Methodist Church,
54 Camberwell Road, London, SE5 0EN
View map and directions

Contact us

020 7708 4497

Find us

Nearest tube – Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).

Nearest Railway Station – Elephant & Castle

Buses from Elephant and Castle – ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45