Knowing what to expect when being discharged from an NHS hospital can make the experience a lot easier for you or your loved one. The discharge process differs slightly between hospitals and depends on what treatment you have received; if you want a more specific plan, contact your hospital’s patient advice.
Whether your hospital visit is planned or an emergency, there's always a plan for your discharge. A discharge assessment takes place to determine what actions will need to be put into place to ensure you're ready to leave the hospital.
There are two types of discharge: complex and minimal.
A minimal discharge is when there is minimal or no care needed.
A complex discharge means that you need further or more specialised care once leaving hospital.
During this process, you and your family members/loved ones have the opportunity to discuss your discharge with your doctor to ensure you are 100% happy with what is about to happen. This is also your opportunity to ask any questions and give any feedback about your experience.
After your discharge assessment is completed, you're provided with a care plan, which should include information about:
Treatment and support
Your care plan includes the next steps in your treatment on your road to recovery - whether that’s medication or a referral to more treatment. You also receive a plan of how and when this support will be given and monitored.
Additional information is also included, such as the details of the person who coordinated your care and where you can contact them.
You may also be given a list of assistive equipment by your care team, such as a hospital bed or electric bed, which will need to be installed in your home before they’re able to discharge you.
There are two ways to get a medical bed for your home:
1) Apply for a bed from the hospital or local council.
2) Purchase a hospital bed.
We have created a short guide on getting a hospital bed for your home here.
In most instances, when you’re discharged from a hospital in the UK, you’re given medication for up to seven days (although this may differ).
A letter is sent to your GP to make them aware of the medication you’ve been prescribed and whether you’ll need more.
If you’ve been sent home with a medical device, part of the discharge process makes sure you or someone supporting you is fully informed on how to use the device, where to buy any supplies for the device and who to call if there are any issues.
For more information about the NHS care plan, please visit NHS.UK.
Before you leave, the hospital makes sure you’re fully aware of what is going to happen. If you’re taking home any equipment – crutches, or a wheelchair, for example – the hospital staff are on hand to make sure you’re able to use it effectively. This is also a good time to as for a sick note for work if you need one.
The hospital should make sure that you have someone to come and collect you. If there isn't anyone available to collect you, the hospital will organise transport to make sure you get home safely.
If you need ongoing care upon your return home, this is included and discussed in your care plan.
Our team of experts have over fifteen years of experience helping people that have been discharged home from the hospital. If you have any questions, a dedicated advisor will be happy to take your call on 0333 305 7021