Discharge from hospital
To make sure you’re home in good time, discharge planning starts from the moment of your admission.
Discharge planning means that hospital staff will work with you (and your family/carers) to make sure everything is in place for you to safely leave hospital as soon as doctors say you are well enough.
It is important to arrange a safe and timely discharge as your health may actually decline if you stay in hospital for longer than you need to.
When you leave hospital, the aim is for you to return home. Occasionally there may be a need for you to be transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation unit, a residential or nursing home, or to live with family. Each person’s needs differ and we will work with you and our colleagues in the community to agree the best place for you to go. There are many available services to help you make this possible as soon as you are medically fit.
Who will be involved in helping me get home?
The nurse in charge of your ward will help to get you home. A discharge coordinator may also help you if your discharge is complicated. For example, if you are going to need support when you leave hospital. With your permission, we will also contact your family/carers to discuss your return home.
If you are going to need extra support when you leave hospital we will also contact the following people:
- A physiotherapist, who will assess your physical abilities
- An occupational therapist, who will assess how you will cope at home and also if you will need any equipment or aids
- A district nurse, who may attend to any nursing care requirements
- Your GP practice, who may help with your ongoing medical care
- Any other specialist who may be involved in your care
The day before
The day before you go home, you, your carer, friend or relative will need to have arranged:
- Transport home
- Some outdoor clothes in which you can travel home
- Your door key to be with you, or someone to be at your home to meet you
- Any heating turned on at your home during the winter months
- Any food you need at home to have been organised
It may also be nice to ask a friend or relative to visit you after you get home to make sure you have everything you need and that you are comfortable. It can often feel daunting to return home after a hospital stay, so a friendly visit may be useful.
Age UK Milton Keynes supports patients with discharge planning and help with visiting people on wards.
On the day you go home
When you are ready to go home we will:
- help you pack away your belongings
- give you any medication you have been prescribed and explain how to take it
- discuss with you the details of any follow up appointments or tests
- provide you with any equipment required e.g. a walking aid
Hospital transport can be arranged. However, it is only available for those with a specified need for transport. We advise you to arrange for someone to collect you from hospital on the day you go home. If you have any difficulties arranging transport yourself, please tell the nursing staff as soon as possible.
The patient discharge unit is a dedicated area in the hospital where you can wait for your transport and/or medication. Qualified staff will be there to care for you.
Once you are at home
There are a range of organisations in Milton Keynes who offer help to people who have just left hospital.
Age UK Milton Keynes runs a free service called Hospital Aftercare. This offers support to older people for up to six weeks after they leave hospital. It includes practical help with transport, food shopping and collecting prescriptions, as well as emotional support. They can also help you get in touch with relevant health and social care professionals. Their team is based at the hospital so they can visit you on the ward before you leave.
You can also download a guide to help you understand the process of being discharged from hospital, the decisions you might be asked to make about support you need when you leave hospital and how you can access the range of services that are available. To view this guide on Age UK’s website.
You can also call Age UK Milton Keynes on 01908 550700.
If you have returned home from hospital and are finding it difficult to manage, you can call the Adult Social Care Access Team. They provide information on what support is available to help you maintain your independence at home. Their telephone number is 01908 253772.
Milton Keynes Council also provide detailed information on their website for social care, including details on approved retailers for buying medical aids for your home.
Home 1st Reablement is a joint health and social care service which aims to help patients regain their independence at home and prevent readmission into hospital. There are a range of residential and home-based services available for patients with different needs for up to six weeks. The services will be provided in or as close to home as possible.
If you would like further information, please ask a member of hospital staff.