Getting you home
Evidence shows it’s much better for your physical and mental wellbeing to leave the hospital as soon as you are well enough.
This helps you avoid some of the risks associated with longer hospital stays, such as infections and the loss of independence and mobility.
Yet each year, nearly 350,000 patients spend three weeks or more in hospital.
This is why it’s so important we tackle this together. We need to think ‘Why not home? Why not today?’. And we need to believe it every day, for every patient.
We need you and your families to ask questions about their care and recovery beyond the hospital setting, either at home or in a care location suitable for their needs.
We will support our patients, particularly older people, to continue their recovery in their own home environment or, for those few who cannot go straight home from the hospital, within a care location most suited to their needs. We are all responsible for reducing long stays and there are specific actions that each of us can take.
Estimated date of discharge (EDD)
Within 24-48 hours of your admission to the hospital, the team looking after you will decide on an estimated date of discharge (EDD).
Your progress will be reviewed daily, either by the nurse coordinating your discharge or the discharge coordinator.
If there is likely to be a change to this estimated date you will be kept updated.
Why do we start planning so early?
We start planning as soon as possible to help minimise any delays in your transfer of care once you are ready to leave the hospital. Some people will need only a small amount of support on leaving the hospital, others will need much more.
If you require more, a comprehensive multi-disciplinary plan will be developed and that will include a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, social work team etc.
Who is involved?
You and your family (with your permission) will be fully involved in this process and your views are important in planning. This planning process does not always have to happen whilst you are in hospital, in fact, evidence suggests that this is better done in your own home or within a community setting.
The patient flow team assess medically-well patients who have recovered and are stable to transfer from an acute hospital bed to another destination. This could be to another ward or department within the hospital if you have a discharge plan and are leaving within the next 24-72 hours.
Your transfer will be explained to you and your family and then arranged between departments where your journey home will continue as planned.
What sort of arrangements need to be made?
We will return any medication you may have brought in from home, along with any newly prescribed medication from the hospital pharmacy. It is important to let us know if you already have supplies of medicines at home. We will explain your medication to you before discharge, but if you require any more information please ask your nurse or doctor.
We will make any follow-up appointments necessary. This may be to return to the hospital as an outpatient, investigations, district nurses etc.
If you need any equipment to support you at home, arrangements will be made and discussed with you as part of your care plan.
You will need to arrange your own transport home, please arrange for a friend or relative to collect you. If your care is being transferred to another setting, we will arrange appropriate transport for you.
Please make sure you have your keys, outdoor clothing and footwear. You may wish to arrange for someone to help you with this. This person may also help make sure you have food and drink at home, and that your heating is on.
What if your home care services are not ready?
If your services are not available when you are medically well enough to leave the hospital, we will need to make alternative arrangements on a short-term basis. These arrangements might include a residential or nursing home until your services can commence.
We will support you and give you the information you need to make this decision. It is not suitable for you to stay in a hospital due to the negative impact it can have on your health outcomes.
What happens on the day you leave?
We will assist you to be ready to leave your bed by 10am. In most cases, you will be asked to wait for your medications and transport home in the discharge lounge. Here you can wait in comfort for your relative/carer/transport to arrive.
There will be nurses and support workers to ensure all arrangements are in place to get you home. This enables the ward team to begin treating another patient. We will send a discharge letter to your GP explaining the reason for your hospital stay and any follow-up plan.