It can be difficult to know what to do when organising care after leaving hospital. Know how to plan before, during, or after a hospital stay.
If a loved one is due to be released from hospital, you may find yourself under pressure to find care in a short time period. This can be stressful, particularly if care at home is not usually in place.
Care arrangements before leaving hospitalIt's worth knowing that discharge shouldn't take place before all of the following have been covered:
- You are considered "medically cleared" - typically a senior medical staff member will have made this decision
- You have been given a written care plan that sets out the support you’ll get to meet your needs
- You have undergone an assessment to look at the support you need to be discharged safely
- It is safe for you to be discharged and the care plan has been implemented
Planning care before going to hospital
If your loved one is arranging to go into hospital for an 'elective procedure', you should consider getting care arrangements in place prior to admission. If they’ve had a fall and hurt themselves, you may need assistance finding care local to them. HomeTouch can provide emergency carers that can be booked within hours.
Discharge Planning for Elderly PatientsWith elderly patients being discharged from hospital, extra steps will be taken by the treating team to ensure that the discharge planning is safe and the patient is ready to go home. The clinical team will be doing their best to avoid an unsafe discharge from hospital. For example, an occupational therapy assessment may be needed to assess the elderly person's activities of daily living. If there has been a fall, a home assessment may be needed to ensure that the home is free from trip hazards and other causes of falls. Additionally, elderly patients in hospital are prone to becoming disorientated. It may also be appropriate for the doctors to carry out a mental capacity assessment before leaving hospital. In cases where the elderly patient is in need of further care after leaving hospital - 6 weeks free care after hospital care - which is known as "reablement", is often offered to reduce the risk of readmission to hospital.
Ongoing care after leaving hospitalSelf care can be a problem after leaving hospital. When mobility is limited, trips to the bathroom can be a struggle, which can lead to dehydration. Standing for long periods can be risky, which means getting a balanced diet can be a challenge.
Care after a fallYour loved one may be unsteady on their feet and at risk of a further fall on returning home. Often it can be useful to have a carer to assist with helping them to get mobile, and with light household duties. This will prevent your loved one from taking on too much too soon.
Care following hip or knee operationYour loved one may be immobilised, on bed rest or not be able to move around the house following a significant operation. A carer can help with daily activities, like cooking healthy meals, housework and getting mobile.
Convalescence carerSpending time in hospital can be tiring and disorientating, and returning home may be stressful without additional support. A home carer can help your loved one to transition from full-time nursing care to independence.
Home help for a parent with dementiaDementia is often diagnosed for the first time in hospital. If you're looking for help for your mum or dad with dementia, you may want to find a carer with special dementia training and credentials.
Discharge from a mental health hospitalIf you or the person you care for is discharged from a mental health facility there may be specialist support that is available to them in the community. This may include involvement from the home treatment team, or allocation of a care coordinator. You will also be able to find carers with mental health expertise on the main HomeTouch directory.
What types of care are available at hospital discharge?The types of support available will depend on the assessed needs:
- Reablement - a focused, time limited care package to get you back on your feet.
- NHS continuing healthcare.
- Other NHS services, such as rehabilitation or palliative care.
- Assisted living aids such as wheelchairs, specialist beds, or aids and adaptations such as stairlifts.
- Voluntary organisations such as Age UK provide companionship and home support.
- Private or self funded care. This may be an option you aren’t eligible for help from the local authority.
Hospital dischargeOn the day of discharge, the person co-ordinating the discharge should make sure that:
- You have a copy of the care plan
- Transport such as a taxi is arranged to get you home
- Your GP is notified in writing and later with a discharge summary
- You have any take-home medication
- You’ve been trained how to use any equipment, aids or adaptations needed
- You have appropriate clothes to wear
- You have money and keys for your home
Being discharged from hospital
Each hospital will have its own policy and arrangements for discharging patients. Normally, when you arrive in hospital, the professionals in charge of your care will develop a plan for your treatment, including your discharge or transfer. This is usually done within 24 hours of your arrival. You will be able to discuss arrangements for your discharge with staff. This will help to ensure that you have everything you need for a full recovery when you return home. Your discharge or transfer date will be affected by:
- How quickly your health improves while you are in hospital
- What support you will need after you return home