Going into hospital
Whether you are admitted to hospital by appointment or following an accident or emergency, the clinical staff are there to make sure that you are well looked after and that you get the treatment you need.
There are some standards which NHS hospitals must meet. The hospital staff must:
• show respect for your privacy, dignity and religious and cultural beliefs
• handle your treatment with complete confidentiality
• look after you in a clean and safe environment
• provide a named nurse in charge of your care
Patient advice services
The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) offers confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters. They provide a point of contact for patients, their families and their carers. You can find PALS officers in your local hospital.
- NHS Choices guide to staying in hospital
- Age UK's guide to going into hospital
- Your rights in the NHS
- Consenting to treatment
- Making a complaint
Help with transport to and from hospital
- If you cannot use public transport, then try contacting a wheelchair accessible taxi firm or one of the voluntary organisations who can provide transport for hospital appointments. You can use the Community Transport Search and select the type of transport and area required.
- The Good Neighbours Support Service has volunteers who help with transport to and from hospital.
- If you receive certain benefits or are on low income, you may be able to get a refund of your transport costs under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme. This is not available for visitors.
Your pension and benefits during hospital stays
Your State Pension stays the same no matter how long you are in hospital but a prolonged stay may affect some benefits you are entitled to.
- If you receive an Attendance Allowance and are going to be in hospital for more than four weeks, call the Attendance Allowance Helpline.
- If you receive the Personal Independence Allowance (PIP), you should contact the PIP General Information line.
You should also contact the Borough or District Council that deals with your claims for housing and council tax benefit. In most cases they will reassess your benefit entitlement to take account of your new circumstances.
To find out if any other benefit you are claiming (eg. Jobseekers allowance) is affected by a stay in hospital or if there are any benefits that you may now be entitled to, contact your local Jobcentre Plus.
Carer going into hospital
Carers often worry about what will happen if, at short notice, they are unable to care.
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers in Hampshire will help you to discuss, develop and implement your own emergency plan so that you can arrange care at short notice.
Care of pets during hospital stays
If you have a pet and go into hospital, you will need someone to look after it while you are there. You can ask a family member, neighbour or friend to help to look after your pet in the short term but you may need to contact a local cattery or kennel. You should find details of these in the telephone directory.
Other sources of help:
- Your vet may know of voluntary groups or sitters who can help.
- Your local Good Neighbour support group.
- The National Association of Registered Petsitters has details of registered sitters in your area. (These services are not free and rates will vary).
- PAPAS (People and Pets Advocates)may have volunteers who can look after a pet during a health crisis.
- The Cinnamon Trustmay have a volunteer who can foster your pet for a short while.
If you go into hospital in an emergency, and you have been unable to make your own arrangements for your pet, Hampshire County Council’s Adult Services department may be able to help. The Council has a responsibility to see that your pet is looked after until you return home or can make other arrangements. We may ask you to make a reasonable contribution towards the cost of any temporary accommodation.
If you are unable to return home, your health or social care worker will talk to you, or to someone you have authorised to act on your behalf, to agree what is the best option for your pet. We will not make any decision to permanently rehome your pet without consent from you or your authorised representative.
Leaving hospital and returning home
If you know you are going into hospital, you should start thinking about what will happen when you leave. Some matters that will be particularly important are:
- will you have a key or will there be someone at home to let you in?
- will you have clothes to go home in, shoes and a coat?
- will there be food in the house?
- will the house be warm enough?
- who will be taking you home?
- have you any close friends, relatives or neighbours who can help you if needed?
If you are admitted to hospital as an emergency case, you will need to consider these matters as soon as you are well enough. It is important that you, or your family or friends, raise any concerns you may have about your discharge from hospital as soon as possible.
If there will be nobody to help when you leave hospital
If you cannot identify somebody to help you, let the nursing staff looking after you know about your concerns as soon as possible. With your agreement, and where appropriate, a referral will be made to the hospital social work team who can make an assessment of your needs. It is important that you tell them your views and wishes for the future. If you have someone who helps to look after you, their views, with your permission, will also be considered. They will also have the opportunity to have their own needs assessed through a carer’s assessment.
You may feel that you are fine to return home but if you get home and find that you are having difficulty coping with tasks around the house or with getting out, you can find a lot of information which can help you in the Managing at home, Equipment and adaptations and Getting out and about pages.
If you need further help and advice, contact Hampshire County Council’s Adult ServicesDepartment.
Support when you return home
Some people may return home from hospital with support. This could be provided by adult social care and/or NHS health teams depending on their needs. You could be referred to a reablement service. This service supports you to safely and gradually undertake everyday living tasks such as cooking and dressing in your own home. The reablement service is time-limited and intended to provide short-term support only; your needs will be regularly reviewed and assessed and, if you have an eligible ongoing social care need, your social care practitioner will work with you to produce a support plan.
Unable to return home
If you are unable to return home, even with help, health and/or social care staff will discuss your options with you. You may be eligible for bed-based reablement. This free service allows older people to have a short term stay of up to six weeks in a nursing home setting, after your stay in hospital.