Help if you're leaving hospital

Last updated: 12 November 2019

You can get help from your local council if you're getting ready to leave hospital and will find it hard to live at home without extra support.

Before you leave hospital

You should agree with doctors what's the best way for you to get the help you need.

What you agree will be put into a 'discharge plan'. This can include:

  • who will need to visit you at home, such as a nurse, if you need treatment at home
  • what items can be made ready for your home before you leave, like special chairs or shower rails

Your discharge plan should be agreed before you leave hospital.

An occupational therapist or social worker can also assess what help you might need outside hospital before you leave.

If you want more advice

Your local council can visit you at home to work out your care needs. This is called an 'assessment'. Your local council might call it a 'care assessment' or a 'single shared assessment'.

The aim of this visit will be to find out what care you need, and how to provide it. You can get a visit by asking the social work department of your local council.

Your carer, if you have one, should be involved in the visit.

If you need more help at home

Help with more complex needs is often given by a range of health and social care experts. This type of help is often short term, given for a few days or weeks.

It can include:

  • your local council helping you with day-to-day things around your home – your local council will often call this 'reablement'
  • community care teams
  • 'hospital at home' (this means some care that would often be given in a hospital can be set up in your home)

The type of care given can vary depending on where you live. The hospital will explain more before you leave, or you can contact your local council's social work department to find out more:

You can also find out more about short and long term care you can get at home.

Care homes

Care homes provide a level of care that you can't get at home.

Find out more about what help you can get if you're looking for a place in a care home.

If you need to go straight to a care home from hospital but don't have a place, your hospital can help you find somewhere that offers short-term care.

Personal care payments while you're in hospital

Your local council will carry on making payments at the full rate for 2 weeks while you're in hospital if you're being paid:

  • personal care payments
  • direct payments


If you don't think you've been treated fairly by the NHS, or you think the plans they've made for your care are wrong, you can use the NHS complaints process to tell them.

You must make a complaint within 6 months of a hospital making a choice about your care, or within 6 months of you being aware that you had a reason to complain.

Find out more about complaining or giving feedback about care.

The Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) can also help with complaints.