Staying in a hospital

If you have an accident or there is a sudden change in your health, you might need to go to the hospital.

Doctors and other professionals will try to find out what is wrong and what help you need. They will inform you and your family about what is happening.

They might decide that you need to stay in the hospital for tests or treatment. Your GP will do your treatment and other community-based services will take care of you.

If you don’t need to stay overnight, you will go home. 

Assessment in the hospital

If you need to stay in a hospital, professionals will assess you. Professionals can include:

  • occupational therapist
  • physiotherapist
  • social worker

They can help you to go home safely by:

  • helping you to become stronger
  • finding equipment for your home

They will help you to become as independent as possible.

Returning home

When you have had all the assessments and treatments you need, it is important to get home as soon as possible. If you lived independently at home, and you can do this again after your hospital stay, talk to the doctor or nurse when you are ready to be discharged.

Help from family or friends

You might need help from family or friends to manage at home. Talk to them and to ward staff to plan your return.

No family or friends who can help? There may be community services that can help you settle back home. For example, the Red Cross.

Dorset Reablement Team

The reablement team can help you to manage at home, after your return from the hospital. They help you to work towards goals, for example, going shopping or cooking your own meals.

If the reablement team cannot help you quickly enough, then there are other people who can help.


If you have carers at home

If you have carers who are funded by Dorset Council, then we will decide whether to keep this arrangement the same, for up to 5 days. When you go home from the hospital, your care will carry on without a change.


You, your family, or your friends must tell the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) when you go into a hospital. You may have to phone more than one number if you receive more than one benefit.

Being in the hospital may also affect your carer’s benefits. They must tell the DWP if they claim Carer’s Allowance.


Phone numbers for various benefits

  • Attendance allowance - 0800 731 0122
  • Disability Living Allowance - 0800 121 4600
  • Personal Independence Payment - 0800 121 4433
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance - 0800 169 0310
  • Pension Service for State Pension and Pension Credit - 0800 731 0469
  • Carer’s Allowance - 0800 731 0297
  • Universal Credit - report a change via your online Journal at GOV.UK

If you cannot make decisions about a hospital stay

Professionals must do a Mental Capacity Assessment. This is to find out which decisions you understand, and which you don’t if any.

If you cannot make a particular decision, then a decision will be made for you, in your best interests. You will still be involved in the decision as much as possible.

If you do not have anyone to help you, an advocate will make sure that your views and wishes are heard.

Care Act assessment

A Care Act assessment is to find out about your care and support needs. The assessment is to find out whether you can get care services.

Medical staff can ask the Dorset Social Care team in the hospital for an assessment. This will only be done with your consent.

A social care worker will visit you on the ward. If you find it hard to be involved in the assessment, and you don’t have family or friends who can help, you can have an advocate.

For more information please read early help or assessment information sheets.

Paying for your own care

If you have savings of over £23,250, you will pay for your own care.

You or your family can arrange it, or the brokerage team can help.

If you care for someone at home

If you care for someone at home, and they are coming home from the hospital, you may be worried about how you will cope. 

As a carer, you can have a supported carers assessment. A social care worker can do this with you. They will give you information and advice about help and support.

If you have questions and concerns

Leaving the hospital can be worrying if you are not sure what will happen when you get home.

Talk to ward staff, your social worker, or the hospital’s social care team.

Contact details for Dorset social care teams

  • Dorchester County Hospital - 01305 255356
  • Poole Hospital - 01202 442522
  • Royal Bournemouth Hospital - 01202 704855