You may not always know you’ll be going into hospital, but when you do it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Deciding what you’ll take with you, thinking about the information you need, and knowing how the hospital should manage your return home can all make your hospital stay more manageable.
Independent Age have produced a really helpful booklet about hospital stays, offering advice on what happens before, during and after your hospital stay. Below are some summary tips, with, at the foot of the page, a link to the downloadable booklet with a lot more detailed information and tips:
- Before a hospital stay:
If you have a planned admission, have a think about the things you can organise before you leave your house. For instance, you could turn your water off at the mains, cancel any deliveries, and ask a friend or relative to check on your home or collect your post.
- During a hospital stay:
If you feel you will need some extra help when you leave hospital, you should be given a discharge assessment while still in hospital. This will look at what ongoing care and support you’re likely to need, who will arrange it and who will pay for it. You might be eligible for free care for up to six weeks after leaving hospital.
- Leaving hospital:
You shouldn’t be discharged until a doctor decides you’re well enough, and any care and support you need has been put in place before you return home. If you have any concerns, talk to the hospital discharge coordinator, social worker, consultant or ward manager.
- Hospital transport:
If you have a medical need for transport, you may be able to use the Patient Transport Services from the hospital. If you are on a low income or get certain benefits, you may be able to get help with travel costs through the NHS Low Income Scheme. You can ask the NHS staff about both these options.