Discharge from hospital

Are you being given the right information? We are constantly reading in the press about the shortage of beds in our hospitals and the need to discharge patients quickly to relieve the pressure on our struggling NHS.

There are three issues which arise on discharge, namely:

1: has a doctor decided a person can be discharged?

Words by Melissa Reads

2: does the person require assistance from social services?

3: is the person returning home with support or are they being discharged home or to a residential care setting?

A lot of the time, patients will be discharged following question one; they won’t need further medical support or social care services and they are free to go home, without any trouble.

Things become trickier if you fall into category two and/or three. Often, these persons will be medically fit to be discharged but will require assistance from social services.

There is often a lot of confusion between the health aspect of a condition and the social care side of a condition. A doctor or physiotherapist may suggest a person is not fit to return to their home based on their contact with the patient but social services may take a different view if the right support can be put in place.

If, as a relative, you are being told a loved one cannot go home, you may take steps to find a residential placement for your relative because pressure is being placed on you to ‘free up a bed’. You may not realise this is the hospital’s assessment and not an actual assessment by social services.

Arranging a placement yourself could have disastrous financial implications should you become unable to fund your care in the future.

The Needs Assessment

If you choose your own residential care placement without having a needs assessment completed by social services the local authority will not automatically provide financial support should you fall below the threshold of £23,250.

The Needs Assessment assesses the level of care needed by an individual and sets the banding levels for financial support from the local authority. If you do not meet their level of needs for that particular care home, they can insist that you move into a more suitable placement (for example, if you have chosen a nursing home and you are  deemed to need residential care only or they may decide you can return home completely) or they can refuse to fund altogether.

This is a separate assessment to a financial assessment and residential care home owners are not likely to warn you that this could happen if you become unable to meet their fees.

We at Glanvilles Damant recommend that should you or a loved one find yourself in this position that you seek legal advice to enable you to navigate the system.

For an initial no obligation consultation please contact Claudia Roberts on (01983) 527878 or email
[email protected] who will be able to discuss your options with you.


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