care after hospital discharge

March 2024

Care After Hospital Discharge | March 2024

As people get older, the chances that they will need to stay in hospital for an extended period of time increase. Once the immediate reason for admission to hospital has been taken care of, it is likely that the elderly patient will still need to be cared for in a number of ways. Therefore it is important to think about care after hospital discharge and how you will do this.

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Rather than simply discharging the patient from a NHS hospital and leaving them to fend for themselves, it is essential to make sure that there is already a care and support system in place and a number of important precautions need to be taken.

Elderly patients who have been staying in hospital for a considerable period of time due to physical or mental infirmity are likely to find that they need some sort of ongoing care and attention.

However, if the elderly person has spent a lot of time in the hospital, it is essential to make the transition from the hospital to home as smooth as possible to ensure that the release from the hospital is not traumatic. This is where after hospital care at home comes in.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about discharging elderly patients from hospital, including how to arrange, for your relative who is elderly, care after hospital discharge.

Before we get in to the details, here is a short video that explains the hospital discharge process.

What will the hospital staff do to prepare me for discharge?

The hospital personnel will present you with a detailed discharge plan outlining the actions necessary for you to leave the facility. This may contain prescription instructions, any scheduled follow-up appointments, and any instructional materials or resources that could assist you at home.

The hospital staff will also discuss the post hospital care options that best meet your needs. If necessary, the staff may refer you to community-based services such as occupational therapy or home health aides who can assist with managing daily life chores.

They will provide information on how to access various financial assistance programmes that can contribute to the payment of medical bills and other recovery-related expenses.

The hospital personnel should be able to offer you with all the necessary information and assistance for a smooth transition back home. By doing these actions, you will be better prepared to face any potential obstacles along the path.

Do you get 6 weeks free care?

Yes, if you reside in England and had NHS continuing care before to hospital release, you are eligible for up to 6 weeks free care after hospital stay.

Post-hospital support can include 24 hour nursing or personal care at home, staying with family or a friend, or at a care facility.

These free 6 weeks care after hospital stays is intended to provide you time to recuperate from any hospital treatments, for further evaluation by medical professionals, and provide an opportunity to examine your ongoing needs. For example, you may be eligible for temporary home care after surgery.

What kind of assessments are carried out?

During the 6-week period, you may undergo multiple NHS and social care evaluations to determine the type of ongoing care (if any) you may require. These evaluations will take into account your current physical and mental health needs, any limitations you may have, and everyday living tasks such as eating and personal hygiene.

The National Health Service (NHS) uses a set of criteria to determine whether a patient should continue to receive healthcare. If it is determined that you qualify for this type of assistance, the NHS will supply it at no cost.

If your needs are determined to be primarily social care-related, a local authority will conduct additional tests to see whether it can fund any necessary services. In contrast, if your demands are determined to be entirely connected to social care, you will typically be responsible for paying for services.

What is a care and support plan?

A care and support plan is a written document that details the services, treatments, and assistance required for you to live as independently, safely, and comfortably as possible. It is developed in consultation with your doctor, healthcare provider, social worker, family members, and other relevant stakeholders, including local authorities.

The plan should be personalised to your own tastes and interests, including any medical issues or special requirements. Additionally, it should incorporate management measures so that they do not interfere with regular operations. The plan should also specify the duties of all parties involved in your care and assistance.

Having a care and support plan in place can help reduce stress by giving you and your carers a clear awareness of your requirements and the most effective approach to address them.

You can make the most of the post-hospital care programmes accessible to you if you comprehend what is required and how to get it most effectively.

This will facilitate a successful recovery and return home.

It is essential to schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor or healthcare provider as soon as you are discharged from the hospital to establish that you have fully recovered.

Sometimes, your primary care physician or another local health care provider may offer these.

NHS Rehabilitation For The Elderly

After hospitalisation, rehabilitation programmes can assist the elderly restore their strength and function.

Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for physical, occupational, speech-language therapy, or other therapies to help you regain your independence.

Your local physician or hospital can provide more information about senior-appropriate rehabilitation programmes.

You may also be eligible for support if you receive care through an agency such as the National Health Service (NHS).

It is important to note that these services are typically only funded by the government for a limited period of time and may need to be supplemented with private funding once the initial period has passed.

Additionally, some types of rehabilitation may not be suitable for elderly individuals and should be discussed with your doctor.

After leaving the hospital, it is essential to get the appropriate assistance so that you may get your life back on track and enjoy it once more. With the correct help, you can recover completely and resume living independently.

Temporary Care Home After Hospital

Some people who have been in the hospital may not be physically ready to go home right away, but they no longer need urgent hospital care. A discharge from hospital to care home can be set up for these people. 

This short-term care, which is often called “intermediate care” or “rehabilitation,” helps the patient get from the hospital to their home. The goal is to help the person keep getting better, rehabilitate, and get support so that they can regain their freedom and confidence.

 Depending on the needs of the patient, these short placements can last for a few weeks or longer. Most of the time, the local council or health and social care trust decides who is eligible and what they need. The NHS or local government usually pays for this care.

What happens after the 6 week period?

At the end of the 6 week care package, an assessment will be carried out to decide whether you continue to receive free NHS continuing healthcare or if any other arrangements need to be made.

This may include either continued NHS financing or a partnership with the local government to provide a combination of health and social care services.

If it is determined that no further assistance is required, it may not be necessary to organise further assistance.

However, if your needs change in the future, you can always call your local hospital or doctor’s office and request additional evaluations.

Elderly After Leaving Hospital

This relates to Elderly patients being discharged from the hospital and is the point when the patient leaves the hospital. As many elderly patients still need care after leaving the hospital, special arrangements often must be made. These may be in the form of live in care at home or admission to a nursing home.

How Can I Get My Elderly Relative is Ready for Hospital Discharge?

Before discharge from hospital to home takes place, it is important to make sure that the elderly patient has a way of getting home and that there is a care plan arranged for them. Elderly patients being discharged from hospital need to understand how to take any medicine they have been prescribed as well as crutches and other items.

You must also notify the patient’s GP about the discharge and seek the assistance of a district nurse if required.

When Will My Elderly Relative be Discharged from the Hospital?

This will largely depend on the health of the elderly patient and their accommodation situation.

The GP will conduct a thorough examination of the patient’s condition to make sure that they are ready for discharge. It will also need to be established that there is appropriate care when they are discharged to their home or another place of residence.

When Will I be Notified of the Expected Date of Discharge?

Once the doctors have examined the patient, they will be able to determine the date of discharge. The patient, as well as their carer and their relatives will usually be notified within 48 hours of admission about the likely discharge date.

Before discharge, the doctor will perform a final examination and conform the date of discharge as well as any follow up appointments that need to be attended.

Can I Get Help from a Discharge Coordinator?

Discharge planning from hospital to home takes a little finesse and people who have complex needs can seek assistance from a discharge coordinator.

This coordinator will help you through all of the steps to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

Of course, they will need to be informed of the date of discharge as well as any independent plans that you make.

What Do I Do If My Relative is Unwilling to Be Discharged?

It may be the case that when they date of discharge comes around your elderly relative does not feel ready to leave the hospital. Consult the doctor to ensure they are ready to be discharged.

If the patient feels physically or emotionally weak, it is a good idea to consider arranging temporary live in care for them until they feel more stable.

Will Transportation Be Provided on the Day of Discharge?

The patient or their carer will usually be responsible for arranging their own transportation on the day of discharge. It is a good idea to arrange the transportation a few days in advance to make sure that the journey goes as smoothly as possible.

Bear in mind that the patient is likely to be feeling nervous on the day of release from hospital, so try to make sure that the transportation arrives on time.

What Types of Care After Hospital Discharge are Available?

In addition to medical care, there are lots of types of elderly care after hospital discharge that should be considered. Elderly patients who are still feeling rather weak may need help washing, bathing and dressing, while others may need help taking care of their home.

Patients who live alone may need companionship and other types of emotional care to help make the transition easier.

What is Hospital Discharge Planning?

Discharge is the process of leaving the hospital and people who have spent a long period of time in the hospital environment may find the process a little stressful, especially if they are elderly.

A hospital discharge care plan can help to make the process easier as it will include a number of details so that they are not overlooked. It is important to note that authorisation for discharging elderly patients from hospital has to come from the patient’s doctor. 

What Elements Need to be Included in the Discharge Plan?

When discharge planning from hospital to home, you need to arrange the transportation to the patient’s home or care facility. It is important to work out if addition support or care is needed for the patient. You must also consult the doctor about the need for follow-up appointments and tests.

What Needs to Happen on the Day of Discharge?

Before completing elderly discharge from hospital, make sure that transportation is arranged and the home is in a suitable condition to receive the patient.

All parties concerned need to be aware of the discharge, including the patient, their GP and a carer if they require one. Make sure that the patient has suitable clothes and shoes as well as the keys and money they need for the journey.

Are There Any Potential Discharge Issues to be Aware of?

If an elderly relative has spent a long time in the hospital, they may be unwilling to leave and go back to living on their own again. They may also be feeling worried about having to remember when to take their medication or perform certain exercises that have been prescribed.

Arranging a temporary carer may help to make the transition easier, as they will provide your relative with extra care and companionship when they need it most.

"There are several different types of home care agencies who are available to provide certain types of help to elderly patients who have been discharged from hospital."

Can I Get Help After Discharge from Hospital?

There are several different types of home care agencies who are available to provide certain types of help to elderly patients who have been discharged from hospital.

It is a good idea to check carefully to find out the kinds of assistance that are available. Of course, you also need to consult the elderly patient to make sure that they are happy to receive this help.

What is NHS Respite Care After Hospital?

Elderly patients who live alone are likely to find that they need some kind of home care after hospital stay.

While some people may need occasional care, others are likely to require the services of a live in carer. When determining the level of care that is required, the needs and wishes of the patient should be considered carefully.

What are the Benefits of Private Live in Care?

If your elderly relative needs constant care and are unwilling to live their home, it is possible to arrange for a live in carer to look after them. This allows patients to retain some of their independence while they are being looked after.

A live in carer will be available around the clock to administer medications, bathe and cook for the patient as required as well as take care of light housework chores.

Here is a short video that explains how live in care works.

How Do I Choose the Right Carer?

If you decide that home care after hospital discharge is required, it is important to choose the carer carefully.

It is a good idea to introduce the elderly relative to the carer in advance, perhaps while they are still in the hospital if possible. Your elderly relative will be inviting the carer into their home and need to feel comfortable around them.

What Do I Do If I Don’t Like the Assigned Carer?

It is important that the patient and the carer form a bond, as they will be spending a lot of time together and the patient is likely to feel vulnerable when they are ill.

Therefore, it is essential to choose the carer carefully to make sure that they understand the needs of the patient and can work well with them. If you decide that the carer is not suitable, simply contact the agency that assigned the carer and ask for a replacement.

discharging elderly patients from hospital uk

How Do I Choose between Temporary and Ongoing Care?

Temporary care is usually suitable for patients who have had an operation or short illness and need a limited amount of care while they recover.

In many cases, temporary care may be free for a period of up to six weeks. However, in more severe cases, patients may require care for much longer than six weeks and the services of an independent carer can be enlisted?

Can I be the Carer for My Elderly Relative?

If an elderly friend or family member needs light care after they have been discharged from hospital, there is nothing to stop you from taking on this role. However, it is important to consult the patient’s GP to find out what medication and other types of care they need.

In cases where the patient needs ongoing and specialised care, it may be a good idea to contact a professional carer.

Can I Get Help with the Cost of Care After Hospital?

If your elderly relative has health insurance, it may take care of a certain portion of the care expenses.

It is important to keep careful records of the costs of any care and medications that are required. Any insurance policies should be checked carefully so that you can determine exactly how much financial aid your elderly relative is entitled to.

Does After Hospital Care for the Elderly Need to Take Place in the Home?

This will depend largely on the living situation of the elderly patient. In many cases, elderly people tend to feel more comfortable in their own home and it may be best to arrange live in care so that they can stay in familiar surroundings.

However, if your elderly relative requires more intensive care and attention, it might be better to arrange for them to move to a nursing home.

How Do I Choose a Suitable Nursing Home?

This will depend on a lot of factors such as the level of care your elderly relative needs, the ease of getting there to make visits and of course the cost. It is important to choose a nursing home where your elderly relative will be comfortable and if possible let them visit before making the decision.

It is also a good idea to visit several different nursing homes before making the decision so that you can get an idea of what is available.

What If I Decide the Nursing Home is No Longer Suitable?

If the elderly patient has new needs due to their ongoing health issues, you may discover that the staff at their former nursing home is unable to cater to their needs. It is a good idea to seek recommendations for the doctor and nurses at the hospital to see if they can make a recommendation.

When seeking a new nursing home, make sure that the staff are fully aware of the ongoing medical condition and are able to provide full care and assistance.

What Is The Latest Time You Can Be Discharged From Hospital?

There is no set “latest time” that all hospitals have to let people go. Each patient’s plan for leaving the hospital is made based on his or her own wants and health. But it’s usually best to send people home during the day, when support services like pharmacies and social services are open. 

Unexpected releases at night (between 11 pm and 6 am) can be scary, especially for patients who are weak. These kinds of releases should only happen when it’s best for the patient and they agree to it. Hospitals try to make sure that patients are safe when they leave the hospital and that they have all the care and help they need.

What Do I Do If I Feel It Is Too Early for Discharge?

If you believe that your relative who is elderly discharged from hospital too soon, before they are physically or emotionally stable, it is possible to appeal the decision. First, express your concerns to the discharge planner and doctor and see if they are willing to change the discharge date.

If this does not work, it is possible to formally appeal to the relevant organisation.

Meet the author

Jane Parkinson

Jane Parkinson

Jane is one of our primary content writers and specialises in elder care. She has a degree in English language and literature from Manchester University and has been writing and reviewing products for a number of years.

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