It can be incredibly difficult to get your relative discharged from hospital, or alternatively, you may discover they are about to be discharged and you feel totally unprepared for what needs to happen next. The hospital should tell you who is arranging your relative’s discharge and, if possible, the date they are likely to leave. A discharge co-ordinator and hospital social worker are likely to be involved if they’ll need support when they leave. However, if they’re only likely to need help for a week or two with domestic tasks such as shopping and light housework, the person responsible for discharge should look at what they need and suggest local organisations that can help.
The Discharge Co-ordinator
Before your relative leaves, a discharge co-ordinator should:
- decide whether the NHS will remain responsible for their care
- assess what help they might need when they leave
- assess the needs of their carer, if they have one
- decide whether they would benefit from intermediate care or ‘re-ablement’ – basically rehab, often post stroke
- draw up a care plan
- decide who will be paying for their care
- look at practical issues on leaving hospital
- tell you when the care plan will be reviewed (within a few weeks).
Arrangements will vary depending on your relative’s needs and on whether they can go home, or whether they may need alternative accommodation as a temporary or permanent option.
When you are ready to be discharged from hospital
Don’t forget these things when your relative or friend is ready to be discharged.
- find out who to contact if you have any questions after leaving hospital – this will probably be the GP, but could also be the specialist nurse or the ward nurse
- ask what you should look out for when you get home, such as signs of infection
- make sure that staff have your relative or friend’s up-to-date contact details as well as yours.
Independent Age has more great advice for hospital stays and discharge. You might also try the Royal Voluntary Service in your local area, as they provide both in-hospital support as well as at home help, in addition to their new “Home from Hospital” initiative. Age UK locally might also be able to help or signpost you to local services. The British Red Cross provides similar services as well as offering a mobility service providing wheelchairs and other aids.
Has your relative been in hospital recently? What was their experience? Were you able to get the help and information you needed? Please share your experience with others in Age Space Forum.