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Going into and leaving hospital

Leaving hospital

When you leave hospital, you go through a process called hospital discharge.

You’ll be considered for hospital discharge when you are ‘medially optimised’.

This is when you are no longer need to be treated as an inpatient at the hospital, and while you may not be fully recovered, you are stable enough to go home, or to another community setting to continue your care.

Step 1 - Checking the support you need

Before you leave hospital, the hospital team will need to consider if you are able to cope on your own once you are at home.

They will ask you some questions, such as:

  • what you may need help with when you leave hospital
  • whether your home environment is suitable for you at present
  • who you have in your support network that can help you when you leave hospital - for example, family friends, care professionals or other people in your community who normally support you

If you feel that you will need some extra care and support, they will contact us to arrange a meet and greet visit to discuss the support you will need.

The Transfer of Care Hub will let you know when and what support has been arranged for your discharge. 

Step 2 - Your meet and greet visit

A member of staff from the Transfer of Care Hub will visit you on your ward to discuss the care support needed on discharge.  

Your support worker will discuss your current circumstances and help you to create a care and support plan. This will make sure all the help and support you need is put in place ready for you to leave hospital.  

The plan will include:

  • what treatment and care you need when you are at home
  • who’s in charge of your care and how you can contact them
  • when and how often you need care

Step 3 - On the day you are leaving hospital

The person arranging your discharge should make sure you have:

  • a copy of your care and support arrangements 
  • any medicine or other supplies you need
  • leaflets and advice about your health condition, including things you should do and things to avoid
  • a letter for your GP (they may send this to your GP on your behalf)
  • appropriate clothes for you to wear home
  • transport arranged to take you home, or to where you are staying when you leave hospital
  • keys for your home, and money if you need it, for example if you are taking a taxi home
  • details of how to contact a district nurse if you need help, or know when to expect a visit.

They will also check that you can use any new equipment, such as crutches, before your leave.

Find out more about preparing to leave hospital on the Northampton General Hospital website.

Practical things you remember to do before you leave  

Pack up your belongings

Make sure your bedside locked is cleared out of anything you brought into hospital with you. Check you have things like your mobile phone or glasses.

Clothes, keys and money

You need to make sure you have clothes to go home in, including shoes and a coat. If you have family, friend or a carer visiting you they may be able to bring the things you need from home.

Check that you have your front door key and enough money for taxi fares. The person overseeing your hospital discharge can help with this.

Preparing your home for your return

Just as you prepared yourself for a stay in hospital, you’ll now need to prepare to go home.

You may want to ask family, friends or a carer to help with things like:

  • switching the heating on
  • making your bed
  • getting basic food suppliers, like milk and bread
  • preparing a meal for your return

If you left your home in a hurry and weren’t able to prepare, you may also ask them to make changes to your home to make it easier for you, such as:

  • moving furniture around
  • tidying your home
  • clearing paths

Check out our guidance for creating a safe home.

Last updated 13 November 2023