Going home

Going home after a hospital visit can be daunting. This section will give you the information you need to make a smooth transition and continue on the road to recovery.

Soon after you come into hospital, the staff caring for you will help you to plan for your discharge. Please ask your named doctor or nurse about your expected date of discharge (when you will leave hospital) so that you can make arrangements.

Our aim is that you leave hospital as soon as you are clinically ready. This is so that you can continue your recovery in the best place for you and we can provide NHS beds for people who most need them.

During your time in hospital the people caring for you will make regular assessments about your ability to manage once you get home. They will want to discuss with you the help you have at home, if you need special equipment and any extra care that will enable you to regain your confidence and independence. Please be open and honest about your home situation and any concerns you may have, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

What happens if you can’t go home

If returning to your own home from hospital isn’t safe or practical, your care team will discuss your needs with you and your family/carers to consider the available options. These can include going to a community hospital for a short period to help with your rehabilitation, going to a temporary residence for further assessment, or going to a residential or nursing home. If you need social care help at home we will also talk to you about the option of a direct payment for you to control your own care.

If you need financial help towards the cost of social care, we will talk to you about a financial assessment process and the considerations you will need to make. We’ll provide you with the forms you need to complete, which should be done promptly to allow us to help you plan your discharge. We can help you to complete these forms if you need assistance.

We know that leaving hospital can be a difficult and stressful time for everyone concerned and we will always plan to meet your individual needs. However, there are circumstances when we may not be able to meet your first choice, for example, if the nursing home you have chosen has no vacancies or the community hospital nearest your home does not have the bed or facilities to meet your needs. If this happens we will transfer you to the next best available place, so your care can continue.

On the day you go home

You will need to make arrangements for getting home. We’ll aim to make sure you’re ready to leave the ward by 10am. If you need to be picked up after you’ve been discharged from your ward, you’ll be able to wait in our Discharge Lounge. Our friendly nurses will be on hand to provide care and advice whilst you are waiting for your transport.

What you will be given to take home

Your discharge summary

This is a letter giving details of your hospital treatment and discharge medications. We’ll give you a copy and send one to your GP too. You should show it to anybody involved in your care.


Your nurse will explain your medication, and we will give you the medication you need to leave the hospital. If there is anything you are unclear about, please tell your nurse. If you need further prescribed medicines you can get them as normal from your GP


You may be given things to take home as part of your care plan, like a walking stick or frame, a feeding pump or machine to use at home. You can return any equipment you borrow to reception at any of our hospitals or to the Therapy department at Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. If you’re unable to get to a hospital, the Bodmin Loans Service can collect from your home. Call them on 01208 269716.

Please do return any equipment you borrow so that someone else can use it.


We’ll make sure you go home with a short­-term supply of things you’ll need at home, such as stoma or catheter bags, dressings or syringes and needles. When you’re home, however, you’ll need to arrange for further supplies yourself. Hospital staff will make sure you know how to do this.

Travelling home

You’ll need to arrange for your own transport to get home. If this isn’t possible, or you think you will need some help, please visit the transport and transport costs section on our practical help and advice page for more details on the support we may be able to offer. You can also find details there about how we can help you get to and from the mainland if you live on the Isles of Scilly.

How do I access help once I am back home?

Support with your daily tasks

When leaving hospital most people return to their own home with no additional help. If you need additional temporary support, there is a wide range of community based services available delivered by voluntary groups across Cornwall. In addition to that, help can be provided by health and social care staff, including district nurses, community matrons, rehabilitation staff and help with your meals or getting you washed and dressed. Your care team will discuss all the options open to you as part of your discharge plan.

If you have questions or concerns

Once you are at home you will have the support you need as agreed during discharge, if you have any problems or questions you should contact your GP or social care team.

In most circumstances, once you have left hospital it is best to speak to your GP. They will have a record of your care and treatment at hospital as well as the support you need at home.

In some circumstances, the Royal Cornwall Hospitals staff may give you a contact number to ring in an emergency for support with your particular condition. Otherwise if you think you need to speak to a member of our team, please call our switchboard on 01872 250000.

Feedback, help and advice

We welcome and value your feedback and use comments, concerns, suggestions, compliments and complaints to try to improve our services.

If you are happy with the care and treatment we have given you, we would be very pleased to hear from you. Our staff work very hard to give the best possible quality care to our patients and greatly value your support and encouragement.

If you are not happy with the care and treatment you have received, it is important that you tell us. We can only put things right if you tell us what is wrong. We take all feedback seriously and will take action where appropriate

Find out more about how you can give feedback or make a complaint here.

Page last reviewed: 27 April 2023

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