Living with cancer

Discharge from hospital

Most of your cancer treatment will be as an out-patient. There may be times before, during or after your treatment has finished, when you could be admitted to hospital. 

It may be a planned admission – where you are aware of the admission date and can plan accordingly. Sometimes it can be as an emergency admission. You may be feeling well enough to cope on discharge from hospital, or you may need assistance. 

The ward team looking after you will help you to plan for when it is time to go home, known as your discharge plan. This process should be started within 24 hours of your admission. 

Minimal discharge

Most people who are discharged from hospital need only a small amount of care after they leave. This is called 'minimal discharge'.

Complex discharge

As stated above, you are usually in hospital briefly, and can manage once home, perhaps with family and friends for support. Just occasionally, you may need more specialised care after you leave hospital. If this is the case, your discharge or transfer procedure is referred to as a 'complex discharge'. For example, you may:

  • have ongoing health and social care needs
  • need community care services
  • need intermediate care
  • be discharged to a residential home or care home.

As well as hospital staff, your discharge or transfer may involve other healthcare professionals, such as your GP or a community nurse. If you wish to know more about NHS services follow the link to Cancer Services and the NHS. Organisations outside the NHS may also be involved. For example, local authorities or independent and voluntary organisations.

The links on this page provide more detailed information about discharge from hospital, and your rights about what to expect from the various services involved. You may also find our after treatment had finished section helpful.