Home First

Information on the Home First approach in Scotland

What is Home First?

When your medical treatment is finished, the best place for you to recover is at home. This is known as the Home First approach.

Home First brings together different types of support to allow you to recover at home. This will help to maintain your independence.

Risks of staying in hospital after you’re well enough to go home

A hospital is the best place for medical checks and treatments. But, it’s not the best place to recover once you’re well enough to go home.

Staying in hospital for longer than is needed can:

  • reduce your independence
  • reduce your muscle strength
  • increase your risk of infection

Benefits of recovering at home

Continuing your recovery at home can reduce the risk of deconditioning. Deconditioning can cause physical and mental health problems. It happens when you spend too much time being inactive. For example, bed rest reduces fitness and muscle strength.

Recovering at home can also:

  • reduce the risk of getting an infection
  • let you return to some parts of your usual routine

How does hospital discharge work?

Your treatment and discharge from hospital will depend on your needs and the hospital you’re in. But, there are some general steps to hospital discharge.

Planned date of discharge

When you arrive in hospital, the aim is to set a date for you to return home. The team in the hospital will work with you and your family or friends (sometimes called a carer or unpaid carer) to discharge you by this date.

They will ensure any care you need is in place by this date. This helps to reduce the:

  • length of hospital stays
  • risk of further deconditioning or frailty
  • risk of infections

The priority is to help you get better and support you to leave hospital when the time is right.

You will only be discharged from hospital when your healthcare team have agreed you are fit to continue your recovery either:

  • at home, or
  • in another healthcare setting outside of the hospital.

In most cases, you will return home. If you have more complex care and support needs, you may be discharged to a community setting. For example, you may be discharged to a care home.

Preparing to go home

There are some things you can do in hospital to keep moving and get ready to go home. This includes:

  • getting dressed each day
  • being as mobile as possible
  • using things you would usually have at home like your glasses, hearing-aid, watch and diary

Your family or friends (carers or unpaid carers) can help you while you’re in hospital. They can help you with eating, dressing and walking, if necessary. Hospital staff can show you them how do this correctly. This will help you and your carer feel more prepared when you go home.

Discharge to Assess

Discharge to Assess is where a care assessment will happen at home instead of in the hospital. An occupational therapist, physiotherapist or nurse might carry out this assessment.

This care assessment will involve you and your family or friends (carers or unpaid carers). It should:

  • reduce the time you’re in hospital
  • improve your experience
  • make your assessment more effective as it will be done in your normal surroundings

This will give a better idea of how you cope at home and the help you might need while you recover.

Further information and advice

You can get further information and advice through: