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Hospital discharge

Being told you or a your relative is ready to come home is positive news. However, you might have concerns, particularly if you or your relative is likely to need more care than before he or she was admitted to hospital.

A patient’s care shouldn’t end the minute they leave hospital. All hospitals should have plans in place to help with the transition from hospital to home. Each hospital will have its own policy and arrangements for discharging patients and should provide information about this. A hospital social worker and possibly a discharge co-ordination team are likely to be involved in planning your relative’s ongoing care. Most importantly, you or your relative should be told who to contact for help and support once they have returned home.

However, theses days there often are delays in discharge, sometimes termed as 'bed blocking'. This is quite simply because the required care is unavilable for a variety of different reasons and therefore the stay in an acute hospital bed is required until such time as the person is deemed to be able to manage on their own or the required care is in place. 

Typically you shouldn’t be discharged from hospital until:

  • You are medically fit (this can only be decided by the consultant or someone the consultant has said can make the decision on their behalf)
  • You have had an assessment to look at the support you need to be discharged safely
  • You have been given a written care plan that sets out the support you’ll get to meet your assessed needs
  • The support described in your care plan has been put in place and it’s safe for you to be discharged

Our fast-track hospital discharge service

Our fast-track discharge service is designed as an interim service to enable patients to pay for their own care in order to be discharged safely and promptly from hospital once medically fit. Where the required care is failing to be provided for patients on discharge, our service ensures a swift discharge whilst patients return home with the necessary care in place. After all, there is nowhere quite like home!

If you’re due to go into hospital in a planned way, such as for an operation, planning for what happens afterwards should happen before you ever arrive at the hospital. For unplanned admissions, such as if you’ve had a fall and hurt yourself, discharge planning should begin on the day you’re admitted to hospital.

You’ll usually be given an estimated date of discharge within 24 to 48 hours of being admitted to hospital. To guarantee a timely discharge from hospital, please contact us for a free care assessment so that we can get you home as quickly as possible with the care that you need.

Hospital discharge - an outline of 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 should start as soon as you are admitted to hospital. It is important to let the hospital staff know as early as possible if you are thinking of using our live-in care service to help speed up your discharge. 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.


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