When a loved one is in hospital the focus can be on getting them well enough to come home as soon as possible. There will often be important decisions to make first though, and staff should keep you informed and ensure support is in place for their return home.

A stay in hospital

Hospitals offer carers a variety of support whilst the person you are caring for is in hospital.

You should make it known to hospital staff on admission that you are the patient’s carer and give them your contact details.

Coming out of hospital

Whether the person you are caring for has a pre-planned hospital admission or whether it’s an emergency, understanding the implications for you when they are discharged is essential. You need to be able to make choices about whether you are willing and able to take on the role of carer if the situation is new or if you can continue caring if the condition of the person you care for has changed or deteriorated.

Carers UK provide a factsheet that explains your rights as a carer, the steps that should be followed and what to do if things go wrong – www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/practical-support/coming-out-of-hospital

Discharge plans

Before the person you are caring for leaves hospital they should have a discharge assessment. This assessment should take into account whether you feel able to cope with your caring role. It will also identify if they need any support once they are discharged. This could take the form of:

  • Any intermediate or reablement care
  • NHS continuing healthcare or NHS funded nursing care
  • Once they are home, other NHS services and/or community care services from the local authority

You may also want to contact us about any support needs you might have once the person you are caring for returns home.

Carers Passports for community hospitals in Dorset

Within Dorset’s community hospitals, carers can sign up to the Carer’s Passport scheme – www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/carers/how-we-support-carers

To do this, have a conversation with the ward staff or key nurse about visiting and supporting the person you care for outside of visiting hours.

You can ask for a Carer’s Passport card which allows you to visit the person you care for outside of regular visiting hours. Please note however that this may be subject to change due to restrictions related to Covid-19. You can read  more about the Dorset Carers Passport Scheme in the Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust leaflet – www.carersupportdorset.co.uk/app/uploads/2020/10/Dorset-Carers-Passport-Scheme.pdf

If you need further information or support on your caring role, don’t hesitate to contact us – www.carersupportdorset.co.uk/contact-us