What to Expect When You’re Discharged from Hospital

What to Expect When You’re Discharged from Hospital

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, you should 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.

If you need more information about your hospital's discharge policy, either the ward manager or a member of PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) should be able to help.

How does hospital discharge work?

There are two types of discharge that will be applied in different situations:

  • Complex discharge
  • Minimal discharge

A minimal discharge is when either minimal or no care is needed to complete the operation.

A complex discharge means that you need further or more specialised care after leaving hospital. A full care plan should be provided with a complex discharge, detailing your health and social care needs.

When you're in the hospital, a discharge assessment will be completed to determine which form of discharge you need, as well as whether you need additional care after you've left.

During this process, you, your family members and your loved ones will 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 three ways of getting a medical bed for your home:  

1) Apply for a bed from the hospital or local council 

2) Purchase a hospital bed

3) Hire a bed

At Opera Beds, we have a fantastic selection of hospital beds available, with something suitable for every need. We've also created a short guide on getting a hospital bed for your home.



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.  

Returning home

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. You can self-certify for a seven day period, but after that, most employers will require a sick/fit note.

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.

You may need a sick/fit note for your insurance company or your employer, proving that you have been in hospital. A sick note may also be needed if you have been discharged but are unable to work for a while. The nurse in charge of your ward should be able to provide information about how to get a sick note.

If you need ongoing care upon your return home, this will be included and discussed in your care planFor more information about the NHS care plan, please visit the NHS website.

What do you do if you're unhappy with the discharge procedure?

If you're unhappy with the discharge procedure or the way you have been treated, there are several organisations you can contact to register your complaint.

The hospital staff should be your first port of call in these situations, particularly the staff involved in your discharge. You can also discharge yourself at any time if you choose to do so, although this may not always be the best idea if you still need medical care.

The aforementioned PALS should be able to help, and you can also contact the NHS Complaints Advocacy service - your local council will be able to help you find your local branch.

Do you need a hospital bed?

If you or a loved one have recently been discharged from the hospital, you may get a new bed to help you with your needs. At Opera Beds, we have a huge range of amazing beds available to purchase, with each one having a homely, cosy feel.

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 or would like more advice about purchasing one of our beds, our dedicated team of advisors will be happy to take your call on 0333 305 7021

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Contact us, or speak to our experts advisors on 0333 222 85 84.

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