Hospital stays

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.

Say it once

Different health and social care professionals often ask you for the same information over and over again. This wastes your time and theirs. Say It Once  is run by a group of voluntary organisations in Hampshire. They have developed easy-to-use forms for you to record and share your information. You may find it a good idea to complete a personal profile before you go into hospital.

Useful links:

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. Your GP surgery may have a list of local hospital transport schemes. You can also use the Community Transport Search and select the type of transport and area required.
  • The Good Neighbours Support Service (Hampshire, including Portsmouth) and Communicare in Southampton have volunteers who may 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 0800 731 0122
  • If you receive the Personal Independence Allowance (PIP), you should contact the PIP Enquiry line 0800 121 4433

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.

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, kennel or pet sitting service. 

You may be able to find a pet sitting service in our Marketplace directory.

Other sources of help:

Emergency admissions

If you go into hospital in an emergency, you may not have time to make arrangements for your pet. Your adult social care 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. They may ask you to make a reasonable contribution towards the cost of any temporary accommodation.

If you are unable to return home, the Council will talk to you, or to someone you have authorised to act on your behalf. They will agree what is the best option for your pet. They will not make any decision to rehome your pet without consent from you or your authorised representative.

Leaving hospital and returning home

Planning beforehand

You may know you are going into hospital or you may be admitted as an emergency. In either case, you should start thinking about what will happen when you leave.  

If you do not yet know your discharge date, ask the health staff if they can tell you an estimated discharge date.

Important things for you and your family to consider and arrange before your discharge date:

- 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?

Short term recovery and assessment services
You may be medically fit to be discharged from hospital but need some extra support for a short while. If the hospital discharge team feel this is the case, they may ask the hospital social work team to speak with you to assess your needs, with your consent. You may be offered a short term service to support you. (Portsmouth and Southampton residents may be offered different services). 

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.

Who decides what care you get - health or social care?
See our information on health and social care roles.

Before you leave hospital
Make sure that you:

- collect your discharge letter for your GP
- arrange your follow-up appointment, if you need one
- know how to use any equipment which you are sent home with
- ensure you have your medication
- get a copy of your care plan (if applicable) 
- ask for any medical certificates you may need.

Returning home
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 information sections.

If you need further help and advice, contact your Adult Social Care department.

Further information: 

  • Information about care after being in hospital from Age UK 
  • Information about caring for someone coming out of hospital from Carers UK.