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Safely home: People's experiences of leaving care

With the help of 101 local Healthwatch, we heard from over 3,000 people who shared their stories with us about their experiences of the discharge process.

man walking down corridor

Being sent home too early or without adequate support can cause people significant problems - but when it happens to individuals who are in a particularly vulnerable situation, the risks are even higher. 

Throughout this inquiry, we focused on the experiences of older people, people who were homeless, and people with mental health conditions – three groups for whom the consequences of a failed discharge process were particularly detrimental. 


Five reasons people feel their departure was not handled properly

  • People experience delays and a lack of coordination between different services
    People told us about problems they experienced as a result of poor coordination between different parts of the health system, and between health services and community support.

  • People feel left without the services and support they need after discharge
    People shared numerous examples of being left without the support they needed post-discharge, leaving them in very vulnerable situations and often leading to readmission.

  • People feel stigmatized and that they are not treated with appropriate respect
    We heard that all three groups felt that they experienced stigma and about the impact that perceived staff attitudes had on their treatment and interactions.

  • People don't feel involved in decisions about their care or that they are given the information they need
    People told us that they were not consulted about their care or discharge needs, and that parents and carers had not been communicated with about their relatives’ conditions and support needs.

  • People feel that their full range of needs is not considered
    We heard about the frustration people feel that organisations deal with the problem people present, rather than their full range of needs.

People's stories of leaving care

Channel 4 News followed our work and helped share people's stories about the impact that a failed discharge process had on their lives.

Hear from Lily and Frank Roberts as they share their experience of leaving hospital too soon and the complications that caused: The 'revolving door of care': unsafe hospital discharges.

Homeless people on being discharged from hospital too soon

Hear from homeless men in London about the issues they faced after being taken back to the streets before they had properly recovered from their injury or illness: 'What happens when the vulnerable leave hospital?'.

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New mothers with mental health conditions

Hear from new mothers who experienced mental health conditions after giving birth: 'Helping new mothers when they are 'losing their mind'.

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Find out more

Read more in our report Safely home or find out more about our work on leaving hospital.

Download the report