Patient Information

Advice for carers in the first 48 hours after discharge


This information is for carers and the person being cared for. It gives advice about the first 48 hours after discharge from hospital.

This may be a worrying time for you. There may be a whole lot of new issues to tackle. We do not want to overwhelm you with information. Keep this somewhere you can easily get to. You can always refer back to it when you need it.

Plan for an emergency

It is sensible to be prepared in case something happens to you or the person you care for.

  • Some local authorities, such as Richmond and Kingston, offer Carer’s Emergency Cards. This is a card for you to carry with you at all times. It is recognised by local emergency services. This scheme ensures that emergency cover can be put in place if something happens to you.
  • Keep a list of emergency contacts in a useful place, such as on a fridge.
  • Create a contact in your phone called ‘In Case of Emergency (ICE)’. Here you can list the details of who you wish to be called in an emergency.
image of carer's emergency card


drawing of medicines

The person you care for should have been sent home with enough of their medicines for 7 days. If they need to continue taking them beyond the first week, it is important to get a repeat prescription from their GP. Remember, some surgeries require 48 hours’ notice to process prescriptions.

Your local pharmacy can help you both to understand the prescriptions. If the person you are caring for has been prescribed a new medicine to treat a long-term condition, they may be able to get extra help and advice about the medicine from their local pharmacist through a free scheme call the New Medicine Service. The pharmacist will support you over several weeks to use the medicines safely and to best effect.

Contact the ward for advice if the person you care for has not received enough medicines for the first 7 days, or has not received their TTO (To Take Out) medicines form.


The person you care for may have been provided with equipment to use at home. It is important that they and/or you have been shown how to use it. Contact the ward team if you have questions about this after discharge.

Carer support

If you have agreed for the hospital to refer you to your local carers’ centre, you can expect to have had contact with them within 2 weeks of the person you care for leaving hospital. Even if you did not want a referral, our website explains what support is available (see table at the bottom of this page).


  • Arrange a follow-up appointment if the person you care for needs one. Who to contact will be listed in your discharge letter.
  • Get any medical certificates they may need, for example, a sick note.
  • Make sure you know where to get any supplies you may need and who to call if you need help with the equipment.

Questions it may be useful to ask

  • Am I registered as the main carer/next-of-kin on the hospital records?
  • Do the hospital and social care teams have my contact details?
  • Do I understand the next steps for my person’s treatment and care?
  • Do I understand my rights as a carer and how to find out more?
  • Do I understand how to use the equipment provided? Who can I talk to about this?
  • If I have a concern about the condition of the person I care for, who do I call?
  • Can I also receive a discharge plan or letter?
questions marks

Rehabilitation support

Rehabilitation support (sometimes called ‘Rehabilitation and reablement services’) is available to those that need it when they leave hospital. The first six weeks are available free of charge on the NHS.

The person you care for may have been assessed as being eligible for care at home. If so, it is important to talk to the hospital team before discharge to ensure this care can be organised.

This support can help build everyone’s confidence and reduce the chances of going back into hospital. If the support is needed after 6 weeks, the person you care for will require a needs assessment by their local authority. This will also include a financial assessment to decide if they need to pay for some or all of their care costs. Make sure you cancel this care package after six weeks if support is no longer required, or you may be charged.

Some carers can feel a bit lost after this 6-week care package comes to an end. It is important to consider if you will need support in your caring role going forward and plan ahead. Get in touch with your local adult social care service or carer’s centre to speak about your options. These are listed at the bottom of this page.

Looking after yourself

Woman walking in a park

Many carers will spend a lot of time putting the needs of others before themselves. But it is so important that you remember to look after yourself and take care of your own needs too. You are not alone in this journey. See the list at the end of this letter of support available in your local area and who to talk to when you need help.

Being a working carer

You may have a paid job whilst also being an unpaid care. You are not alone. There are over five million working carers in the UK. Carers UK  have some useful information around your rights as a working carer.

  • You have the right to take time off in an emergency.
  • You have the right to request flexible working.
  • You do not have to tell your employer or colleagues about your caring role. But telling them may lead to more support from work.
  • You can ask your employer for a copy of your workplace Leave Policy and Carer’s Policy.

If you are looking to arrange support for the person you care for whilst you are at work, contact your local adult social care services or private care agencies. See the section below on Local Support for more information.

The Carers UK website has free factsheets, guides, tools and online learning to help you manage your caring responsibilities. Topics include:

  • health and wellbeing
  • practical support with caring, including short breaks
  • technology and home adaptations
  • financial planning
  • working and skills
  • carers’ rights, including rights at work.

Links to useful information

New medicines service from NHS pharmacists
Carers UK support for young carers
Kingston Hospital information for carers

Local Authority and carers’ centre details by borough

Local Authority contact detailsCarers’ Centres contact details

Richmond Response and Rehabilitation Team
Richmond Adult Social Services
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
020 8891 7971
SMS Phone: 07903 738043 adultsocialservices@richmond.gov.uk

Richmond Adults Emergency Duty team
Monday to Friday, 5pm to 8am, and 24 hours at
weekends and on bank holidays.
020 8744 2442  


Richmond Carers Centre Support line
Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm
24 hour voicemail service
020 8867 2380   support@richmondcarers.org  

Kingston Adult Social Care for advice or support
020 8547 5005

Kingston Out of Hours Duty Social Worker If you
need to speak to someone urgently outside of
office hours
020 8770 5000  


Kingston Carers’ Network  
020 3031 2757


Merton Adult Social Care First Response
Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 1.30pm
020 8545 4388
Minicom: 020 8545 4626

Crisis Line in case of an emergency
Monday to Friday,1.30pm to 5pm
07903 235 382

Out of Hours Service
Monday to Sunday, 5.30pm to 9.00am
020 8770 5000


Carers Support Merton
Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm
020 8646 7515


Surrey Adult Social Care
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
0300 200 1005
Textphone (via Text Relay) 18001 0300 200 1005
SMS (for the deaf or hard of hearing)
07527 182 861  

For emergencies out of hours
01483 517898
Textphone (via Text Relay)
18001 01483 517898
SMS (for the deaf or hard of hearing)
07800 000 388


Surrey Action for Carers
Monday, Thursday and Friday, 9am to 5pm, Tuesday and Wednesday, 9am to 6pm
0303 040 1234
Text (SMS) 07723 486730   CarerSupport@actionforcarers.org.uk  

Wandsworth Adult Social Care
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
020 8871 7707
SMS (for the deaf or hard of hearing only)
07940 775107
Out of hours: 020 8871 8999  


Wandsworth Carers’ Centre  
020 8877 1200   info@wandsworthcarers.org.uk

Sutton Council general enquiries
020 8770 5000  
In an emergency, carers can contact:
020 8770 5000
020 8770 6080
minicom (for hearing impaired people)
020 8770 5178
The automated message may tell you that
the office is closed but there are staff there
to take your call. Please hold on until they


Sutton Carers Centre  
020 8296 5611   enquiries@suttoncarerscentre.org  


Hounslow Adult Social Care
020 8583 3100
Out of Hours (after 6pm) Duty Social Worker
020 8583 2222.


Advice for carers in the first 48 hours after discharge Download PDF


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