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Social care in hospital

Information about social care when you come out of hospital

  • Have you been admitted to hospital?
  • Are you or your relative/family carer concerned about how you will manage when you leave hospital?

Suffolk County Council’s Adult and Community Service (ACS) teams in Ipswich, West Suffolk and James Paget hospitals can advise, support and help you to plan for your discharge from hospital so that you do not stay longer than is necessary once your medical treatment is completed.

We will work with you to help you do as much as you can for yourself, so that you can return to live at home or find other suitable accommodation.

Updated June 2016

What help is available to me?

If the ward staff think you will need help once you get home, ACS may offer you advice and information or an assessment. Your relative/family can also request an assessment or if you are a family carer, you can request an assessment of your own needs, either separately or as part of the assessment of the person you care for.

We will carry out the assessment in line with the Care Act 2014 national eligibility criteria to find out what support you may need. 

If you are eligible for support from us, we will agree a 'care package' with you i.e. services which will enable you to return to the community safely and speedily once medically fit for discharge.

ACS works very closely with our Health colleagues and you will be part of a multidisciplinary approach which will support you to achieve your identified outcomes at the time of hospital discharge. This might result in other ACS services being made available to you, and the hospital team will ensure that all decisions take account of your individual circumstances.

Services arranged may include:

  • domiciliary (home) care

  • assistive technology

  • day care

  • residential nursing care

  • respite care

  • direct payments.

We also work closely with discharge planning nurses who can assess and organise provision of community nursing equipment. 

The assessor will also be part of the Decision Support Tool meeting if you are going through the NHS continuing healthcare process.

The Home First service may be offered short-term to enable you to regain your independence and assess what longer-term support is needed.

The service will usually be provided to you by practitioners employed by Home First (which is part of Suffolk County Council) and is normally only provided for a short-term period.

What help is available if I cannot go home yet?

Your wellbeing is at the heart of our dealings with you. The team can arrange a temporary residential or nursing care bed for you on a short-term basis only after your discharge, either while you wait for domiciliary services to become available or while decisions are made about longer term plans for your future care.

How much will it cost me?

There is a financial charge for most of these services, and we will discuss this in more detail during the assessment. Most of our services are means-tested and your savings and income will be taken into account. See our page on paying for care and services for more information.

What if I need longer-term care?

After you have left hospital we will review your needs to make sure that services are going well and that all interested parties are happy with the care. If services are required longer-term, responsibility for your care will pass to the local Adult Social Care Community Team who will support you.


You may need some help or support to understand the information given to you, to be fully involved in your assessment and care and support plan or to express your opinions, views and wishes so that they are listened to.

The ACS assessor might refer you to an advocate to support you to achieve this. You can find out more about Advocacy on our dedicated page or from Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy on the Suffolk County Council website, or from your named assessor.

PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Services) are set up in each hospital to provide information and support to you, your family or family carer.

Compliments, comments and complaints

If you have any compliments, comments or complaints to make about Adult and Community Services please download or use this form.

If you have any compliments, comments or complaints to make about the health services or treatment you received in hospital, then contact PALS.

Other organisations or services that may be able to help

We can direct you to other organisations or services that may be able to help you in areas such as: 

As well as providing care and support to you, we may also provide help to a person already looking after you at home, for example, a friend, relative or family carer. A family carer is entitled to an assessment and support in their own right.

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