Carers’ guide to hospital discharge

With the help of carers in our community we’re building this practical guide, for carers who are supporting their cared-for through hospital discharge. This guide is growing all the time, and if you’re an unpaid carer with experience to share, please get in touch at with us.

Illustration of a man standing next to a clipboard and medication jars.

Going through hospital discharge for the person we care for can be a stressful and worrying time. Knowing what to expect and what support we can draw on, can help us feel more prepared and in control.

Here’s what we have learned from carers in the Mobilise community:

What does a good hospital discharge process look like?

“A good hospital will not discharge someone until everything is in place.”
“Experience of my lovely Dad moving from hospital to a Care Home was mostly good.”

The NHS website explains what should happen before the person we care for leaves hospital. Including:

  • Arranging any additional help they may need. Such as paid home help or visits from the nurse.

  • Any equipment, such as commodes or alarms.

  • Any home adaptations such as grab rails or stair lifts.

“My Father in Law had the “Rapid Response” team after his first visit to hospital. They turned up with a walking frame, commode etc. Put a plan in place for keeping him well and visited or called him daily to keep an eye on things.”

The NHS website also explains what the discharge process should look like. Including why you’re ready to go home and what to expect.

It includes a helpful ‘easy to understand’ version of the discharge process, which may be helpful if the person we care for has a learning disability or dementia.

There is also a helpful leaflet on how best to support the person leaving the hospital, and ourselves as their carer.

In Scotland, The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 sets out carers' rights in relation to hospital discharge. Notably there is a duty to involve carers (including young carers) in hospital discharge when:

  • The person being discharged is likely to require care following discharge

  • The carer can be identified without delay

How long does hospital discharge take?

It is important to note that every hospital will have a different discharge policy. We should be able to get