Leaving hospital (discharge)

Our top priority is to help you get better, and to support you to leave hospital when the time is right for you to do so. 

You will only leave hospital when you no longer need hospital care, and when it is safe for you to do so. It is important that, together, we start planning right away to ensure you leave hospital in a safe and timely manner.

In order to ensure that you're prepared for when you are ready to leave hospital, we'd recommend that you:

  • Be prepared for your discharge planning to start on the day you are admitted.
  • Plan your journey home from hospital, as an ambulance can only be provided in exceptional circumstances for patients with specific medical needs.
  • Ensure you have key, suitable clothing and footwear, to go home in.
  • Be prepared that you may be transferred to another facility to help us assess what you need long term to support your discharge. This may not be near your home but will only be for a short period of time until the assessment is completed.

Discharge Assessment Unit (DAU)

Some patients may be required to spend some time in our Discharge Assessment Unit (DAU) > before they are discharged.

Before you leave hospital we will talk to you about:

  • Follow up appointments that you might need after your hospital stay.
  • Referrals to other people, such as a specialist consultant or district nurse.
  • Any medicines that you may need to take home.

You must not drive or go home by public transport. Therefore, you must make arrangements for someone to collect you. It is not appropriate to go home unaccompanied in a taxi. Please note that hospital transport and ambulances are not normally available for day patients.

After a general anaesthetic the anaesthetic drugs remain in your body for 24 hours and during this time they are gradually excreted from the body. You are under the influence of drugs during this time and therefore there are certain things that you should and should not do.

You should

  • Ensure that a responsible adult stays at home with you for 24 hours.
  • Rest quietly at home for the remainder of the day – go to bed or lie on the settee.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, but not too much tea or coffee.
  • Eat a light diet such as soup or sandwiches. Avoid greasy, spicy or heavy food as this may cause you to feel sick.
  • Lie flat if you feel faint or dizzy.
  • Contact your GP if you have not passed urine 12 hours after your operation.
  • Have a lie in the next day. It could take two to three days before the weariness wears off and you could suffer lapses in concentration for up to a week.

You should not

  • Drive. Your insurance company may refuse to meet a claim if they feel you have driven too soon. It is also advisable to contact your insurance company with regards to cover following a general anaesthetic.
  • Go back to work.
  • Lock yourself in the bathroom or toilet or make yourself inaccessible to the person looking after you.
  • Operate any domestic appliances or machinery.
  • Drink alcohol.
  • Make any important decisions or sign any important documents.
  • Be responsible for looking after small children.
  • Watch too much television, read too much or use a computer as this can cause blurred vision.