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After being discharged from hospital the person you care for may need ongoing care and support, either at home or in a care home.

On this page you can find the following information:

1. Who will help during and after hospital discharge?
2. Mobility aids and home alterations
3. Taking medication
4. Allowances for you and your loved one

Who will help during and after hospital discharge?

There are a number of healthcare and social care professionals who are involved in supporting and helping patients after they leave hospital. It should be the case that, if there is more than one professional involved, they all work closely together. Try to get a single contact point for following up on any queries you may have relating to your care, or that of a loved one if you are the carer.

District nursing care

District nurses work closely with GPs and can make regular visits to patients and their families at home. They provide help, advice and support with the practical aspects of nursing care, including wound dressings, injections, taking out stitches and helping with managing stomas, catheters or feeding tubes.

District nurses can also arrange for certain equipment – such as a commode, bedpan, urine bottle or special mattress – to be used at home if needed. They can also assess your care needs in your home and refer you to help from other healthcare professionals. In some areas, district nurses can visit in the evening and at night-time.

If you need district nursing support, the ward nurse or discharge coordinator will contact the local district nursing service  to arrange a home visit. They will also send the district nurse information about the care received in hospital.

GP support

On leaving hospital, a letter may be handed over to pass on to the patient's GP or the information may be sent directly online. Check with the discharge team which method is being used. The letter or online report will tell the GP about the hospital treatment and future care needs, including any prescribed medicines and any changes to these. If there's a letter, make sure it gets to the GP practice as soon possible.

Taking medication

If your relative needs any medicines when they go home, the hospital doctors will arrange for a one-to-two weeks' supply. You should make sure that your relative clearly understands the medications and when these should be taken, and also that they are aware of any potential side effects. Find out who to contact if your relative needs any advice about the medications they have been given.

If your relative is given medicine that they will need to continue taking, they should ask their GP for a repeat prescription. GP surgeries may require up to 48 hours' notice for repeat prescriptions, so it’s important for repeat prescriptions to be ordered before the medicine runs out. 

Your can read about free prescriptions, prescription prepayment certificates and collecting prescriptions elsewhere on Which? Elderly Care.

Mobility aids and home alterations

If the person you're caring for has any mobility issues and would benefit from home adaptations or equipment, they will need to be assessed by an occupational therapist (OT). The ward nurse, their key worker or a liaison nurse can arrange for the OT to visit them if this hasn’t happened as part of the needs assessment.

 

The OT will also need to visit your loved one's home to get an idea of the mobility difficulties you might face. You can request to be present at the visit (with your loved one’s permission). Once an OT has assessed your loved one’s needs, they’ll arrange for any equipment needed to be available when they go home.

If you need to find an occupational therapist or physiotherapist yourself, see Accessing occupational therapy for older people and Physiotherapy for older people.

Remember that home adaptations may take longer to organise, so as long as it’s deemed safe for your friend or relative to go home, they may be discharged on the basis that the adaptations will be carried out once they’re home.

They may have to pay for these services, depending on their savings or income. A financial assessment will be undertaken by the local authority if your loved one is deemed to be eligible for care following a needs assessment.

Allowances for you and your loved one

If you’re planning to take care of your loved one when they return home, you may qualify for Carer’s Allowance or other benefits. You are also entitled to an assessment of your own needs, called a carer’s assessment.

 

If their needs have changed, the person you care for may be entitled to allowances they weren’t entitled to before. For example, they may now be entitled to an Attendance Allowance if aged over 65 years or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if under the age of 65.

If you are planning to take care of your relative when they return home, you may qualify for Carer’s allowance or other benefits. You are also entitled to an assessment of your own needs, called Carer’s assessment.

More information

Page last reviewed: August 2018
 

If you are planning to take care of your relative when they return home, you may qualify for Carer’s allowance or other benefits. You are also entitled to an assessment of your own needs, called Carer’s assessment.

Who will help your relative during and after hospital discharge?

There are a number of healthcare and social care professionals who will be involved in supporting and helping your relative after they leave hospital. It should be the case that, if there is more than one professional helping your relative, they all work closely together. Try to get a single contact point for following up on any queries you may have relating to your relative’s care.

District nursing care

District nurses work closely with GPs and can make regular visits to patients and their families at home. They provide help, advice and support with the practical aspects of nursing care, including wound dressings, injections, taking out stitches and helping with managing stomas, catheters or feeding tubes.

District nurses can also arrange certain equipment - such as a commode, bedpan, urine bottle or special mattress - at home if needed. They can assess your relative’s care needs in their home and refer him or her to help from other healthcare professionals if needed. In some areas, district nurses can visit in the evening and at night-time.

If your relative needs district nursing support, their ward nurse or discharge coordinator will contact the local district nursing service before your relative goes home to arrange a home visit. They will also send the district nurse information about the care your relative received while in hospital.

Medical support

On leaving hospital your relative may be given a letter to give to their GP. This will tell the GP about your relative’s hospital treatment and future care needs, including any medicines they’re taking and any changes to these. You should make sure your relative passes this letter to their GP as soon as they can.

If your relative is not given a letter, it is likely that the hospital team has made contact with the GP before discharge. Always check with the hospital team that this is the case.

Taking medication

If your relative needs any medicines when they go home, the hospital doctors will arrange for a one-to-two weeks' supply. You should make sure that your relative clearly understands the medications and when these should be taken, and also that they are aware of any potential side effects. Find out who to contact if your relative needs any advice about the medications they have been given.

If your relative is given medicine that they will need to continue taking, they should ask their GP for a repeat prescription. GP surgeries may require up to 48 hours' notice for repeat prescriptions, so it’s important for repeat prescriptions to be ordered before the medicine runs out. 

Your can read about free prescriptions, prescription prepayment certificates and collecting prescriptions elsewhere on Which? Elderly Care.

More information

Page last reviewed: December 2015
Next review due: October 2018