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When a loved one is in hospital the focus can be on getting them well enough to come home as soon as possible. There will often be important decisions to make first though, and staff should keep you informed and ensure support is in place for their return home.

A stay in hospital

The hospitals in our area, both acute and community, offer carers a variety of support whilst the person you are caring for is in hospital.

You should make it known to hospital staff on admission that you are the patient’s carer and give them your contact details.

Carer Support Wiltshire Hospital Liaison Service

Our Hospital Liaison Team work within the acute and community hospitals in Wiltshire and offer support and information to carers while the person they care for is in hospital and also in the weeks after they are able to return home.

It’s important that carers are kept informed and are consulted on the care of their friend or loved one who is in hospital, since they are the experts in their care. It’s also vital carers are fully involved at the point of discharge from hospital, and that they feel able to continue supporting the person they are caring for once they are back at home.

Intermediate care, specialist equipment and follow-up appointments are some of the things that may need to be in place before someone can come home. It’s important that a carer knows things are in place and feels able to take over the care of their friend or loved one.

Even if you have previously been caring for someone, their needs may have changed or increased and this needs careful consideration. Not having the correct support in place can cause additional stress at an already very difficult time. Our Hospital Liaison Team is able to liaise between carer and hospital (and other services) if necessary, and provide advice, support and information at the point of admission, during and after the discharge process.

Please contact the Hospital Liaison Team free on 0800 368 7579 (if no one is available when you call, leave us a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.) You can also email us at

Alec’s experience of the Hospital Liaison Service;

‘I would like to take this opportunity to belatedly let you all know how grateful myself and my wife are to your organisation which offered me such brilliant support, advice and intervention with the hospital discharge unit at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon during my elderly father’s illness. Your help gained me the necessary time to organise our house in order to be able to accommodate my father on his discharge from hospital.

I found myself in a very difficult situation when both my partner and father were admitted to GWH more or less at the same time. I had no idea at the time where I could seek support and felt under a lot of pressure as to how I would be able to manage the situation should both family members be discharged at the same time without having had time to organise the house suitably. Thanks to your help that didn’t happen.

My wife is now well on the road to complete recovery after her operation and caring for my elderly father is now possible thanks to our reorganised home. I attended several carers cafe sessions at GWH which I also found very helpful, so many thanks to the staff I met face to face.

Many thanks for helping me to avoid a situation which looking back on it could have become quite impossible.’

Coming out of hospital

Whether the person you are caring for has a pre-planned hospital admission or whether it’s an emergency, understanding the implications for you when they are discharged is essential. You need to be able to make choices about whether you are willing and able to take on the role of carer if the situation is new or if you can continue caring if the condition of the person you care for has changed or deteriorated.

Discharge plans

Before the person you are caring for leaves hospital they should have a discharge assessment. This assessment should take into account whether you feel able to cope with your caring role. It will also identify if they need any support once they are discharged. This could take the form of:

  • Any intermediate or reablement care
  • NHS continuing healthcare or NHS funded nursing care
  • Once they are home, other NHS services and/or community care services from the local authority

You may also want to contact us about any support needs you might have once the person you are caring for returns home.

You can speak to our Hospital Liaison Team by calling free on 0800 368 7579, Monday – Friday 9.00am-5.00pm. You can also email us at

Alternatively you can call the main Carer Support Wiltshire line on 0800 181 4118 Monday – Thursday 9.30am – 4.30pm, Friday 9.30am – 4.00pm.

Other useful services

John’s Campaign – all of our local hospitals have signed up to John’s Campaign which entitles people looking after someone with dementia to stay with their loved one in hospital.

Carers passports – several of our hospitals offer a carers passport scheme. This will give you a variety of benefits such as parking discounts and refreshments. Please ask a member of hospital staff for more details.

Patient, Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

All hospitals have a patient, advice and liaison service. They offer a free, accessible and confidential service for patients, relatives and carers to help you when you need advice, have concerns, or don’t know where to go.

Carer Information Service

Our friendly team of volunteers visit the wards and outpatient departments to provide patients and carers with information and referral to Carer Services.

Carers cafes

All the Inpatient Hospitals in our area offer a Carers cafe. All are welcome to join us for a cup of tea and a chat.

There are volunteers available to offer any information or support which will help you in your caring role.

Other useful resources

All of the hospitals we are working with have a Carers Charter and information pages providing key information for carers.

Great Western Hospital ( – provides Carers Passports with access to a range of benefits including free drinks, discounted parking and food. Find out more about GWH’s Carer Support Passport here.

They also use the Little Journey app for younger patients who are coming into hospital for an operation. Little Journey is a digital eSupport platform that psychologically prepares, informs and supports children and family before, during and after healthcare procedures, all from the comfort and safety of their own home. It includes virtual tours of the children’s ward, theatres and recovery areas for children to watch, interactive games and relaxation and breathing animations.

The app is bespoke to Great Western Hospitals, designed to support children with additional needs such as autism or ADHD, and can be translated into 16 different languages. Children being booked in for surgery will be provided with a QR code on their booking letter to take them directly to the app. Or you can download it by searching for the Little Journey app and selecting Great Western Hospitals.

Royal United Hospital Bath (

Salisbury District Hospital ( – provides Carers Passports with access to a range of benefits including discounted parking and refreshments.

Wiltshire Health & Care ( – provides Carers Passport with access to a range of benefits including discounted parking and refreshments.

Caring Steps Together Programme ( –  The Caring Steps Together Programme has been developed by Bath & North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Together to help health and care professionals provide hospital patients, as well as their families and carers, with extra support before and during their onward care journey. Their website contains useful tools and resources what will happen before, during and after leaving hospital.

The NHS have some useful guidance about going into hospital, which you can read here;

Carers UK have a detailed guide on the discharge process when someone is leaving hospital, which can be accessed here;