Going into Hospital and Coming Home

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Planned admissions

Your admission to hospital will depend on the type of procedure or care you will be receiving. You can attend as an outpatient, or be admitted as a day patient or an inpatient.

As an outpatient you will go to hospital for an appointment to see a specialist but you will not stay overnight.

As a day patient or day case you will be given a hospital bed for tests or surgery, but will not stay overnight. This can include treatments such as minor surgery, dialysis or chemotherapy.

As an inpatient, you will stay in hospital for one night or more for tests, medical treatment or surgery. You will be involved in all decisions regarding your treatment throughout your stay in hospital. If you wish, staff will keep members of your family or friends informed about your progress.

All hospital staff will treat you equally regardless of your gender, sexuality, age or disability and will always respect your privacy and religious or cultural background while providing care.

For planned admissions you will usually receive an admission letter telling you where you will need to go and if you need to do anything differently before admission. For example, you may be asked not to eat or drink for some hours before a procedure.

Before leaving for the Hospital you should ensure that your house is secure and you have planned for how you will return home after your treatment. It is also a good idea to make sure you have food and drink in the house as you may not want to get this immediately after being discharged.

The NHS advise you to bring the following items:

  • Two nightdresses or pairs of pyjamas (depending on the length of your stay)
  • Day clothes (you may not need to wear your night clothes for your entire stay in hospital. Hospital wards are often kept warm, so bear this in mind when choosing clothes)
  • Clean underwear
  • A dressing gown and slippers
  • A small hand towel
  • Toiletries, including soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner
  • Sanitary towels or tampons
  • A razor and shaving materials
  • A comb or hairbrush
  • Things to occupy you, such as books, magazines or puzzle books
  • A small amount of money to buy things such as newspapers, phone calls and anything you may want from the hospital shop or ward trolley
  • Any medicines you usually take, including nicotine replacement treatment, eye drops, inhalers and creams
  • A notebook and pen to write down any questions you have when the doctor is not available
  • If you wish, you can bring healthy snacks to eat between meals
  • Your address book and important phone numbers, including your GP’s name, address and telephone number
  • Proof that you do not have to pay prescription charges, if applicable (inpatients don't normally have to pay for the medication they are sent home with)

Unexpected admissions

If you are admitted to Hospital unexpectedly you may not have the time to prepare as described above. Staff at the Hospital will make sure you have everything that you need so that you are comfortable while you are receiving the treatment you need. You should inform a friend or relative that you have been admitted as soon as you are able, so that they bring you the things you need and you can start preparing for when you go home. The ‘Home from Hospital’ service will be able to help you with this as described below.


Coming Home

People should not be discharged from hospital unless they are medically fit and have been formally discharged by a doctor. Every hospital has a hospital discharge policy. This is a public document that you can ask to see. It should include details of how the hospital staff will arrange the discharge. It can help you start thinking about what will happen after a hospital stay.

Plans about the date and time of discharge should be discussed with the patient. Hospital staff must ensure that transport to the person's home or care home has been arranged. They should also take extra care when making plans to discharge someone on a Friday, or during a weekend, as it may be difficult to contact home care workers and GPs on these days. Hospital discharge policies should include details of what to do in such circumstances.

Leaving Hospital Checklist:

  • Provide a forwarding address for any post.
  • Make sure you have collected your hospital discharge letter for your GP. Or have it sent directly to your GP in the post, by fax or by email.
  • Make sure you have the medication you need.
  • Make a follow-up appointment if you need one.
  • Ask the nurse in charge of your ward for any medical certificates you may need.
  • Collect any cash and valuables you may have handed in for safekeeping.
  • Check that you have all your belongings.

Intermediate Care

If you need more support to help you leave Hospital and continue to live independently at home you will be offered intermediate care services. These services are designed to help you regain independence and may include a combination of health and social care services. To read more about intermediate care please see our Intermediate Care page

More Information

For more information about going into or leaving Hospital you may like to visit the following pages.

Coming Home

Royal United Hospital, Bath advice to patients about leaving hospital.

Salisbury District Hospital's advice to patients about coming to hospital and leaving for home.

For local health services visualized on a map of Wiltshire, visit http://www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk/your-health/local-health-services