Returning home after hospital

Staying in a hospital may be difficult, and most people want to get home as soon as possible, but your health and recovery are a priority, so you shouldn’t be discharged until the doctor and team caring for you decide you no longer need care in hospital.

When you’re admitted to the hospital (as opposed to just visiting A&E), the hospital team will start planning arrangements for when you go home and the sort of help you might need to do so. Most patients don’t need ongoing nursing or social care help to get home and recover, but help is available for those who need it.

When the hospital team looking after you thinks you are likely to go home soon, you will be given a date and a time you are likely to leave.

Things to remember when leaving the hospital

  • Please try to arrange for a family member or friend to collect you if possible.
  • Ask someone to bring outdoor clothing on the day before you leave if you do not already have suitable clothing with you.
  • Transport is available for those patients the hospital team think need it because of medical need.
  • Make sure you take all personal belongings with you when leaving the hospital.
  • Make sure you give back any hospital equipment you have, e.g. crutches.
  • Make sure you have the medication you need with you.
  • Collect your copy of your hospital discharge letter – your consultant will write this letter to your GP advising them of the care you’ve received and this is your copy (your GP will receive this automatically). This helps ensure your GP can continue to support you once you are home.
  • If you do need onward care and support to help you recover, or you were receiving home care prior to admission, these arrangements will be discussed with you.

Further information and advice will be given to you by the hospital team.

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Haringey Home from Hospital Service

For residents over 50

We know some people may be able to return home medically, but you and your family may worry about how you will cope when you return home from the hospital. If you’re over 50, the Haringey Home from Hospital service, which works with North Middlesex and Whittington Hospital patients, can help you settle back at home with basic things like:

  • helping you get home on your day of discharge
  • making sure electricity key meters, gas meters are topped up
  • making sure the heating and hot water system are operating properly
  • buying some food shopping to settle in

You can ask the Ward Manager or ward staff to refer you to this service before the date you leave the hospital.

Your hospital team may think you need additional, ongoing support to help you go home or recover. They will work with you and other staff working in the hospital and in the community – nurses, therapists and social workers – to decide what sort of free, short-term (up to 6 weeks) help and support you may need, including any items of equipment to help you.

Most people who get this help do so at home, but you may move to a community bed outside the hospital to help your recovery (see next section).

Contact details

For more information, you can download the Haringey Home from Hospital Patient Brochure (PDF, 544KB) and the Home from Hospital Referral Form - Hospital Patients (PDF, 96KB).

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Home support

See more information on the support available when you return home after hospital:

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Recovering your independence and getting stronger and more confident with life at home

The Haringey Reablement Service is a therapy-led service. If the hospital refers you to this service, you will be allocated an occupational therapist or physiotherapist. They will assess you in your home and work with you on a program to aid your recovery and confidence. This will include daily tasks like Washing and Dressing, Indoor and outdoor mobility, getting confident on the stair, preparing a meal for yourself, and other normal activities where you may feel less able than you were before.

Discharge to assess

Discharge to assess (D2A) means funding and supporting you to leave the hospital, when safe and appropriate to do so. We will continue your care and assessment out of the hospital. You can then be assessed for your longer-term needs at home.

In the past, a lot of life-affecting decisions were made in the hospital. People had not fully recovered their strength and abilities following an illness. Many patients were seen as less able than they could be with the right support and recovery. Long-term decisions were made at a time of crisis or before full recovery.

By taking you home under Discharge to assess, we ensure that you get the full chance to recover. Sometimes you may go to a residential care home for a couple of weeks. This allows you the opportunity to convalesce to better health before deciding to change where you will live, or how much care you need in the long term. Once you have left the hospital, we come and assess you rapidly at home and work with you with the help of the Reablement Team to make sure you get the most independence possible. Then we make an enduring decision about what your needs are for the long-term future.

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When home is not the right place anymore

Sometimes, people enter the hospital after a long time of struggling at home. We encourage people to return home with care support. Most people want to remain in their own homes. It is best to try this, with extra support if you need it to make this safe and sustainable.

Unfortunately, sometimes an individual or their family may feel that this has been tried and it is time to consider living elsewhere where there is care support available all day. If you ask the hospital Ward Manager or Deputy Manager to refer you to us, we will assess you and work with you to establish which alternatives would be most suited to your needs.

Extra Care scheme

Extra Care scheme - warden supervised independent flats for people over 55. The blocks have 24-hour staff on-site to support you. To be eligible, you need a paid carer for at least 14 hours a week. This option allows you to retain your independence as you are allocated your own flat with all the facilities you would have in a normal flat.

Care Homes

If you or your family feel that Residential Care or a Nursing Home are the best options, the hospital Ward Manager can refer you to us and you will be allocated a Social Worker who will assess and support you to make a decision.

If you receive council-funded care at home, go to Extra Care or a care home, you will have a financial assessment as well as a care assessment as you may be expected to contribute to the costs of this. We will explain this all to you when we assess you.

Further support available

Hospices provide care specifically for terminally ill people and give support to their carers both in the hospice and at home. Admission is arranged through your doctor or hospital consultant.

The adult social care directory Haricare (external link) has details of a number of private nursing services, hospices and other organisations that can offer help and support. Support available includes helping you to cope with end of life, life-limited illnesses, bereavement and funerals.

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Page last updated:

May 26, 2021