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Attending and leaving hospital

Attending and Leaving Hospital Panel

A hospital stay can be a stressful experience, especially if you're unsure of what to expect.

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust operates several care facilities in Plymouth, which include Derriford Hospital, Mount Gould Hospital, the Urgent Treatment Centre, and Minor Injuries Units.

For inquiries about existing hospital appointments, please contact the department directly. The number will be on your appointment letter. For other inquiries, please call 01752 202082

Your outpatient appointment

An outpatient appointment refers to a scheduled medical visit or consultation that takes place at a healthcare facility, such as a hospital or clinic, where the patient does not require an overnight stay. Outpatient appointments are typically for non-emergency services, such as consultations with specialists, diagnostic tests, therapy sessions, or minor procedures.

Things to bring with you  

  • Appointment card or letter (if you have one) 
  • A list of any tablets or medicines you are taking 
  • Enough money for prescription charges, telephone calls, refreshments and car parking 
  • Income support/family credit book if you are receiving benefit and want to claim travel expenses  
  • Your diary dates or special arrangements (such as holidays), which might affect your future appointments or treatment 
  • A book to read in case you have to wait (or a quiet toy for a child). 
  • Any questions you want to ask the doctor, nurse, or therapist

Please do not bring anything of value.

If possible, please bring only one relative or friend with you, as space in the waiting area is limited.

Your inpatient stay

An inpatient stay refers to a period during which a patient receives medical care or treatment while admitted to a hospital or other healthcare facility. Unlike outpatient appointments, inpatient stays involve overnight accommodation in the hospital for monitoring, observation, diagnosis, treatment, or surgery.

What to bring with you 

  • Inhaler, tablets, or medicines you are taking.
  • Night clothes, slippers (non-slip), and dressing gown.
  • Comfortable clothes or tracksuits.
  • Toiletries (e.g., towel, soap, flannel, toothbrush, hairbrush, shaving kit, cosmetics).
  • Spectacles, hearing aids, or contact lenses if you use them.
  • Change for phone calls, newspapers, etc.
  • Something to read. 

Please try to avoid bringing valuables or large sums of money into the hospital.  If this is not possible, please give them to the nurse to take to the cashier's office for safekeeping. 

Familiarise yourself with the hospital procedures and ask your doctor about any pre-admission tests or procedures required before your hospital stay.

Communicate with loved ones, inform family and friends about your upcoming hospital stay, and discuss how they can best support you.

Arranged support at home should be considered if you require assistance with daily activities after discharge. Consider arranging home care services or support from loved ones.

During your hospital stay

Once admitted to the hospital, familiarising yourself with the environment and communication protocols can be helpful.

  • Get to know the staff: Introduce yourself to your nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals involved in your care.
  • Ask questions: Don't hesitate to ask questions about your treatment plan, medications, and discharge expectations.
  • Pain management: Communicate openly with your doctor or nurse about any pain you experience. There are various pain management options available.
  • Respecting hospital rules: Familiarise yourself with hospital rules regarding visiting hours, noise levels, and meal schedules.

Planning for discharge

Hospital discharge refers to the process of formally releasing a patient from a hospital or healthcare facility after receiving medical treatment, care, or services. It marks the transition of the patient from the hospital setting back to their home, a rehabilitation facility, or another care setting, depending on their health needs and care plan.

While in the hospital, discussing your discharge plan with your doctor is crucial.

  • Understanding your recovery process: Ask your doctor about the expected recovery timeline and any ongoing treatment or medication requirements.
  • Post-discharge care options: Depending on your needs, explore options like home care, rehabilitation services, or a temporary stay in a care home.
  • Arranging transportation: Ensure you have reliable transportation arranged for your return home from the hospital.

Find out more about care after illness or hospital discharge (reablement)


Arranging care before you leave hospital

Recovering at home after a hospital stay is an important step in regaining your strength and independence. However, for some individuals, a return home might necessitate additional support.

View page (Go to Arranging care before you leave hospital)

Care after illness or hospital discharge (reablement)

Getting back on your feet after an illness or hospital stay is an important step towards regaining your independence. However, this can sometimes be challenging, especially for older adults. This is where reablement services can be a lifesaver.

View page (Go to Care after illness or hospital discharge (reablement))

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