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Hospital discharge

All hospitals should be able to provide information on their discharge process. Most importantly, you should be told who is responsible. A hospital social worker and possibly a discharge coordination team are likely to be involved.

If you are having planned treatment, you may be invited for a pre-admission check. This provides an ideal opportunity to identify the support you are likely to need later. If you do not have such a check or you are admitted in an emergency, planning for your discharge should begin as soon as possible after admission.

Arrangements will vary depending on your needs and whether you can go home or need to consider alternative accommodation.

See section “Arranging help if you have fewer care needs” if you are only likely to need help for a week or two, perhaps with shopping and light housework, and visits from a district nurse or your GP.

You are entitled to an assessment to decide what help you may need on leaving hospital, regardless of who will be paying for this help. The key steps are: deciding if the NHS should remain responsible for your care assessing what help you might need when you leave assessing your carer’s needs (if you have one) deciding whether intermediate care would help drawing up a care plan deciding who will be paying for your care leaving hospital – practical points reviewing your care plan.

Who should arrange care services for you?

If you have significant healthcare needs, these should be assessed and compared with NHS eligibility criteria for fully funded NHS care before you are discharged, possibly in consultation with social services. The outcome of the decision should be recorded in your notes. If you meet the criteria, the cost of your care, at home or in a care home, is the responsibility of the NHS.

If you are not eligible for fully funded NHS care, the local authority social services department may have a responsibility to arrange services for you. You should have your needs assessed. The assessment may involve a social worker, a nurse and specialist health professionals. Staff should always listen to your views on your situation and the help you might need. If you are likely to need special equipment or adaptations to your home, an occupational therapist may want to visit.

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