Getting ready to leave hospital

Returning home or moving to another place of care

The way we will support you to leave hospital in Dorset has changed. This follows a change in national guidance and measures that were put in place to support the COVID-19 pandemic.

You may have received different information if you were admitted before April 25 2022. This information replaces that guidance.

This page explains how we will help you to prepare to leave hospital, and what support you might expect after you have left.

When will I leave hospital?

The team caring for you will advise you when you no longer need hospital care. At this point, it will be in your best interest to return home or to another place of care to continue your recovery.

Why can’t I stay in hospital?

When you no longer need hospital care, you cannot remain in hospital and it is better for you to continue your recovery elsewhere.

Staying in hospital for longer than necessary will result in you losing muscle strength, reduce your ability to remain independent and may expose you to infection.

Leaving hospital when you are ready is best for you and will also free up a bed for someone who needs hospital care.

Healthcare worker

Planning your recovery

Planning for your discharge will start as soon as you arrive in hospital. Staff will keep you and your family informed about the date you are predicted to be ready to leave hospital. They will explain what will happen in order for you to be discharged.

 The best place for you to recover is usually your home - with the support of your family, friends and local community if you need some extra support at first. There may also be equipment that can help you achieve tasks independently. If you need additional care and support, we will discuss your options when you leave hospital.

Shortage of care and care workers in Dorset at present might mean we cannot offer your first choice of provider, or place of care, straight away. If so, you will be offered an alternative that meets your needs.

You do not have a right to remain in hospital if we cannot provide your preferred choice of care and you are clinically ready for discharge. However, you can decline any care we propose and arrange and fund an alternative yourself.

What support will I receive when I leave hospital?

Most people will regain their independence with help from family, friends and neighbours, or with voluntary and community support.

If you need a further period of short-term support to aid your recovery, local health and social care services may be able to provide this.

If you need long-term care and support, the full assessment of your needs will usually happen after your discharge from hospital. You will be contacted by the relevant team to arrange this.

The team supporting you will guide you through the process and help you make an informed decision on the next steps in your recovery.

You will not be able to remain in hospital if you decide not to accept any support that is offered.

Elderly care

Will I have to pay?

NHS care is free at the point of delivery, whether it is delivered in a hospital or in another place.
Most adult social care services are not free. The amount a person pays towards these costs depends on their finances and ability to pay.

If you previously paid for your care and support, or contributed towards its costs, and your needs have not changed, then you will continue to do so.

If you have new long-term care needs, you will be financially assessed by the council to make a contribution towards your care, usually from the date when the care starts.

What you pay will usually depend on how much income and savings you have. How much you contribute will depend on what you require and be decided after an assessment of your finances by the council.

If you have more than £23,250 in savings, you will have to pay the full cost of your care. If you have less than £23,250 in savings, you will contribute towards the cost of your care based on what the council assesses is affordable to you.

Who can I contact?

Before you leave hospital, we will confirm the arrangements in place for you. We will also advise who you should contact after you have left hospital if you need to speak to someone about your care needs.

For more information about social care and support in your area, go to the Home First page.

If you don’t have access to a computer, please speak to a member of hospital staff and they will provide details in paper form.

We can supply this information in other formats, in larger print or have it translated for you. Please contact Dorset HealthCare on 01202 277000.

Our Dorset is a partnership of local health and social care. For more information, visit the Our Dorset website.

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Home First – helping you recover at home