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Looking after someone coming out of hospital

Is someone close to you going into hospital for treatment, or are they in hospital now? Will they have care and support needs on their return home? If you will be looking after them you will be a carer!

Throughout a stay in hospital, staff should identify people who have, or are likely to take on, caring responsibilities, including children and young people. If you are taking on a caring role you should be involved in all stages of the discharge planning process and your own needs should be taken into account. It is important that you have the opportunity to express your views and be listened to.

Sharing information

Tell nursing or hospital staff if you are the main carer, or will be taking on caring responsibilities, for the person being discharged as they will need to ask the patient for permission to share information with you. This will help to make sure you have the following information:

  • a discharge plan (both verbally and in writing)
  • a care plan (if an assessment of support has been carried out)
  • the medical condition of the patient
  • medication the patient needs
  • what the caring role may involve
  • how decisions are made and procedures about reviewing or challenging them

Before hospital discharge

You may like to use the following checklist to make sure the person you care for is discharged appropriately.

  • If care and support needs have been identified, has an assessment of your support taken place?
  • Have you been involved in assessments of the person you care for and has your caring role been considered?
  • Has a minimum of 24 hours notice been given before discharge?
  • Has transport home been arranged?
  • Have any valuables or property been returned?
  • Has any essential equipment been supplied or fitted and have you been shown how it works?
  • Have you been given appropriate training, for example in moving and handling or rehabilitation methods?
  •  Have any medicines been supplied in advance?
  • Have you been given information about symptoms to watch out for and where to get help if needed?
  • If care and support is in place - has this been shared with you?
  • Have your wishes, feelings, needs, and the care you intend to provide been fully considered?
  • Do you have all contact names and numbers for social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, care providers or other appropriate people?

After discharge

There are many different types of help the person you are caring for might need when they come out of hospital. These may be organised by the NHS or the council. Some health services are provided by the hospital (home visits from a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or speech therapist), but most are provided by community health services, often arranged by the GP. Support for you as the carer.

If you are an adult or parent carer Durham County Carers Support, can do an initial assessment of your needs as a carer and offer independent support and advice. They provide a sensitive and confidential service and are able to work together with other local organisations including the voluntary sector and the council to promote and support your own needs.

If you are a young carer, Family Action: Young Carers Services can do an assessment of your needs and offer appropriate help and support. What to do if you are worried A named person (usually a nurse) will have responsibility for the discharge of the patient. Talk to them about your worries or concerns. They can play a valuable role in keeping you informed.