Hospital Discharge – A Guide

Focus on Disability - For Disabled People, the Elderly and their Carers in the UK

When you are discharged or leave hospital a procedure called a discharge plan is undertaken

See also:
Going into and out of Hospital –Advice on Benefits
Care Homes – Benefits and Hospital

Discharge plans

Every hospital should have its own policy and arrangements for discharging patients. This is especially important if you need ongoing care. The care you may need could be extra, or different, to the support you have received in the past.

A named nurse, or ward-based care coordinator, will be responsible for you leaving hospital. The hospital should also arrange transport for you if necessary. The hospital should get in touch with your local doctor to inform them of your status, or that of your child.

If you have recently become disabled, or have given birth to a disabled child, the hospital will automatically tell local social services so that support can be put in place.

You should be given appropriate information about your disability and about possible relevant organisations and support groups, as well as information about entitlement to any benefits, and how to obtain support and equipment.

Other things to think about when leaving hospital

Other things to think about when leaving hospital include:

  • letting your local doctor know, especially if there are changes in the nature of your disability or if you are newly disabled
  • finding out about financial support you may be entitled to

Having an assessment before you leave hospital

If you need ongoing health and social support after leaving hospital, a team, which may include a consultant, doctors, nurses and local social services, will carry out an assessment. This is called a multi-disciplinary assessment.

Each local council sets its own ‘eligibility criteria’ for access care which will then affect the type and level of support you receive. Services provided by a local council may incur a charge.

You should be fully involved in the assessment process. You should also be informed about the complaints procedure in case you are not happy with the outcome of the assessment.

Most teams will have a social worker who will make sure social services know about any extra support you will need at home. Other specialists may also be part of the team, such as occupational therapists.

If you were receiving services before entering hospital the existing services may simply need reinstating when you leave hospital.

You should not be discharged from hospital before the services you need have been arranged.