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Supporting Someone Who Is In Hospital

We want to work with carers to make sure that we are doing everything we can to support our patients and their friends and family. There are thing you can do to help us too.

Before Coming to Hospital

We know that coming into hospital can be stressful for patients and their friends, family and carers. 

When someone has a planned admission we have an opportunity to ensure staff have the information they need to provide the best care possible. We can also make sure that carers can access support early and this can help relieve some of the pressure. 

Unfortunately, we know that a lot of admissions are not planned and this can add extra stress to the situation. However, there are some things that can help patients, their friends, families and carers prepare in case of hospital admission. 

Tools to Help You Plan

There are lots of tools to help you plan for different things that might happen in the future.

  • Anticipatory Care Plans
  • Planning for Unexpected Events
  • Power of Attorney
  • Carer Support Plans
  • Thinking About Wills
  • Supporting Someone at the End of Life

You can find out more information about all of them on the Planning Care webpages. You can also contact your local carers services.

What to Bring To Hospital

Documents and Personal Items

Whether someone has a planned admission or has arrived as an emergency, we have put together a list of things that would be helpful for someone to bring in as soon as possible.

  • A copy of the Power of Attorney (if you have one)
  • A copy of the Anticipatory Care Plan (if you have one)
  • A list of all medication
  • A copy of any medical documents you have
  • A few items of clothing (including pyjamas and underwear)
  • Some basic toiletries (e.g. toothpaste, toothbrush etc.)

Anything else?

Also have a think about what brings the patient comfort. There are many different things that this could be, for instance:

  • A particular blanket or cushion
  • A doll or soft toy
  • Some type of special food or drink
  • A phone or tablet and charger
  • Some books, newspapers or magazines

If you are unsure whether or not to bring an item into the ward then speak to a member of staff. 

Making a “Grab Bag”

If someone has a long term condition and a hospital admission is likely, then it can be useful to make up a “grab bag” containing all the key items and documentation. This means you will know exactly where everything is and can bring it in quickly.

While Someone Is In Hospital

When someone is in hospital it is important that we can work with friends, family members and carers to ensure that patients receive the best care possible.

Person Centred Visiting

We understand the importance of encouraging and supporting people to stay connected to the people that matter most in their lives whilst they are in hospital.

In line with this, we are in the process of implementing Person-Centred Visiting across our inpatient wards. Person-Centred Visiting means that we will work together with patients, family members and staff to find arrangements that work for everyone.

Find out more information about Person Centred Visiting.

Visiting During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic we are having to monitor our visiting policy closely. To keep up to date with the latest information please look at our visiting information pages.

Carers count as essential visitor and should continue to be allowed to visit the person they support. For more information please read the Essential Visiting pages.

Helping Out While Someone Is In Hospital

Having a familiar face help with care can make some patients more comfortable. We also know that lots of family and friends find it reassuring to be able to help. Some activities that you could be involved with are:

  • mealtimes
  • personal hygiene/care (if appropriate)
  • exercising with the patient
  • helping during medical examinations (if appropriate)

If you would like to be involved in any activities then please speak to the nurse in charge and we will develop a plan with you.

Looking After Yourself

We know that looking after someone can require a lot of time and energy. You may feel that while the patient is in hospital you need to have a rest from your caring responsibilities. Your health and wellbeing is very important to us, so we will not put any pressure on you to be involved in the care if you do not wish to be.

What is an “Estimated Discharge Date”?

We will give you an Estimated Discharge Date (sometimes called the EDD) as soon as possible – this is the day that we think the patient will be able to leave hospital. This date may change, however we will let you know if this happens. We hope that by giving everyone this information it will be easier to plan for the patient coming home.

Discharge From Hospital

Things to Bring for Discharge

Before leaving, patients will need house keys, clothes, footwear and an outdoor jacket. Please help us by making sure these items have already been brought in.

Transport Home

You and the patient need to make your own transport arrangements to get home. We can arrange a taxi but we cannot pay for it. If patients need an ambulance for medical reasons then the ward will arrange this and tell you that this is happening.

Have a think about how the patient will get home and if you have any questions or concerns please talk to us.

Where to pick patients up?

Most patients will be moved from the ward to the discharge lounge and you can pick them up from there. Some patients might need to be picked up from the ward instead.

We will try to have most patients ready to leave hospital in the morning, however, sometimes it can take a bit longer to get everything ready.

Please talk to us the day before discharge and we will tell you where to pick up the patient and what time we think they will be ready to leave.

Medicine and Aftercare

When the patient is discharged they will be given a discharge letter, a 7 day supply of any new medication and instructions on any follow-up care that they need. We know that there might be a lot of information given to you.

Things to Think About

  • Do you and the patient know to use any new medications or equipment?
  • Does the patient need a fit note? (This is a letter from the hospital to give to an employer if the patient has missed work or will need to have some time off)
  • Have you or the patient been given a hospital discharge letter?
  • Are there new care packages starting?
  • Are there any follow-up appointments to go to?
  • Do you have contact information for any services you need to contact like social work, homecare providers and carers services?
Post-Discharge and Ongoing Support

Once the patient has been discharged it may take a while for everyone to settle into a new routine and adapt to any changes that may have occurred due to the patients’ medical needs.

Sometimes carers, friends and family members may find it difficult to adjust and feel a bit overwhelmed by their new caring responsibilities. This is perfectly natural and there is support available to help you.

Places to Find Support

Local Carer Support Services

The first thing we would suggest is linking in with your local carer services if you have not already done so. You will be able to speak with experienced staff who can help you decide the best way forward. They may also be able to link you in with peer support networks where you can meet people in the same position as you.   

Health and Social Care Professionals

We would also encourage you to speak to any professional staff who are supporting yourself or the person you care for. This may include GPs, community nurses, social work and a whole range of other support services. It is important that they know what is happening so that they can monitor the situation and offer help and support.

Getting a Work/Life Balance

If you are working, then it may be beneficial to speak to your manager to let them know what is happening and see if there is any support they can offer you. Some organisations have specific carer leave policies to help carers find a work/life balance. 

Looking After Yourself

Whatever you decide to do, remember it is really important to look after yourself. Sometimes carers feel lonely and isolated and this can affect their mental health. If you are struggling, then reach out to someone and ask for help and know that you are not alone. 

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde would like to thank you for all the care and support you provide others, it is greatly appreciated.