Leaving hospital

Early in your hospital stay your consultant will inform you of an estimated date of discharge (EDD) and will keep you updated if this date changes. The date is to help you and your family/carers to plan ahead. Please ask ward staff if you are unsure about your estimated date of discharge.

You should also inform the ward staff of any existing support you have such as family support, home care or any Trust community services you already receive, so these can be taken into account when planning your discharge.


You will normally be discharged before 12 pm on the day you are due to leave hospital so that any support services that need to commence on the day of your discharge can proceed.  Please ensure that your have made plans to be collected before 12 pm so that arrangements can be made for the next patient who will be using the bed. 

You will be expected to make your own transport arrangements with your family/carer when returning home from a stay in hospital. For information on public transport please telephone 028 9066 6630 or visit www.translink.co.uk.

If there is a particular clinical need and you are assessed as requiring an ambulance, this will be arranged for you in exceptional circumstances.

There is currently a pilot scheme in place Monday to Friday at Antrim Area and Causeway Hospitals. There is a dedicated driver and health care assistant who can safely transport patients home following discharge from the hospital in some situations. They also ensure, if the patient is going to their own home, that the patient is safe and comfortable before they leave. Please ask ward staff about this.

Claiming benefits

If you are claiming Statutory Sick Pay or Incapacity Benefit, ask the ward manager/senior nurse for a ‘Hospital In-Patient Certificate’ showing the date you were discharged.  Your GP will give you further medical certificates after this date if you need them.

Continuing medical care

You will be given a discharge letter or preliminary report to take to your GP. You should arrange for this to be given to your GP at the next available surgery session after you leave hospital so that any follow up treatment may be arranged. If you have any concerns about your condition once you are home please contact the ward directly or your GP.

If you have worries, concerns or questions about coping after being discharged from hospital it is possible to talk to a Hospital Social Worker about your concerns. The Ward Sister will be able to give you details about the Hospital Social Worker.

If the hospital staff think that you will continue to need care after being discharged, an assessment will be carried out by Social Services staff. This Community Care Assessment can provide a particular package of care for you following discharge from hospital, for example, home care, day care, provision of special equipment.

The Ward Sister will be able to give you details about the Carers’ Coordinator for further support or advice.

Review appointment

If you are asked to come back for an outpatient appointment, make sure the appointment has been arranged and that you have a note of the date, time and location of the appointment (if applicable).


Normally when you leave hospital, you will be given a supply of medicines if you require them.  Your GP will be told about any changes in your medication in the discharge letter.  Your GP will then prescribe further supplies as needed. Nursing staff can advise you on any of these matters if you are unsure.

Remember to take all personal belongings with you and ask staff for any valuables which you have handed in for safekeeping.

If you require a confirmation of discharge for health insurance purposes, please ask ward staff to supply this.

Compliments, gifts and donations

Patients often ask if there is anything they can do to say thank you to the hospital for the care they have received.

It is important the Trust receives feedback from patients, family and carers. Patients often want to say thank you and compliment staff: this can be done by contacting either the ward or in writing to the Chief Executive’s Office.

Individual members of staff cannot accept gifts of money.

Donations can be made to ward or hospital Trust Funds which are used to provide many extras for the well-being of patients or staff. If you would like to make a donation please contact the area concerned and ask for more details.

Comments and suggestions

We are committed to the delivery of high quality care and work hard to maintain high standards at all times.

However, we do appreciate there may be an occasion where you, or your family, feel dissatisfied with the standard of service you receive. Please do not hesitate to tell us about your concerns as this helps us to learn from your experience and to improve services for future patients.


Before you leave hospital please make sure you have:

• A discharge letter to pass onto your GP.
• Any medicines you need.
• Suitable clothing for travelling home
• Any special equipment for home you may need.
• A note of the date and time of any follow-up outpatient appointment.
• Told your local social security office when you will be going home so they can re-adjust your benefits (if this applies to you).
• Made arrangements for someone to take you home. You will only be taken by ambulance if your doctor says this is necessary because of your condition.

Page last updated:27 January 2014