Going in to 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.

Hospital staff standards

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

NHS Choices guide to staying in hospital

Age UK's guide to going into hospital

Your rights in the NHS

Consenting to treatment

Making a complaint

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.

Help with transport to and from hospital

There are organisations in your area which can provide transport for hospital appointments or visiting or both. The following guidelines will help you to identify the most appropriate service to use:

  • make the journey by some form of public transport (taxi, train, bus), or with help from a relative or friend
  • The Good Neighbours Support Service can help with transport to and from hospital
  • if you cannot use public transport, then try contacting one of the voluntary organisations who can provide transport for hospital appointments. You can use the Community Transport Search and select the type of transport required. Hospital transport services can be booked as a single journey or a return
  • 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.

If you receive the Personal Independence Allowance (PIP), you should contact the PIP General Information line.

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
If you look after someone as a carer and need to go into hospital yourself, please see the information about emergency respite.
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 or kennel. You should find details of these in the telephone directory.

Other sources of help

Emergency admissions

If you go into hospital in an emergency, and you have been unable to make your own arrangements for your pet, Adult Services 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. We may ask you to make a reasonable contribution towards the cost of any temporary accommodation.

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

Leaving hospital and returning home

While you are in hospital a nurse will speak to you about preparing to leave hospital and your situation at home. Depending on your needs and what support you have, the nurse may then ask a Care Manager or Assessor from Adult Services staff to speak to you. With your consent, they can carry out an assessment to help you identify your care needs and to see if you are eligible for help from Adult Services.

You may feel that you are fine to return home but if you find once you are home, that you are having difficulty coping with tasks around the house or with getting out, you can find a lot of information in the managing at home and getting around pages to help you. If you need further help and advice contact Adult Services.

More information about leaving hospital is contained in the publication Leaving Hospital and Returning Home  Download Adobe Reader to view this PDF 214kB.