The prospect of a stay in hospital can be daunting if you are not used to it. To help allay any fears that you may have, it is wise to make sure that you understand your illness. They say knowledge is power and, in these terms, a better understanding of your condition will help you feel more in control and less anxious.
When in doubt, ask questions and you will find that your consultant, doctor or nurse will take the trouble to explain the reasons for their diagnosis. Likewise, be sure you understand why you are receiving certain medication or what undergoing a particular treatment will entail.
Where it has been assessed that you do not require In-Patient Continuing Care, you do not have the right to occupy an NHS hospital bed indefinitely. However, you do have the right to request a review of decisions made about your discharge fromhospital and you cannot be discharged into a care home against your will.
If you do have some concerns about being discharged from hospital and your right to Continuing Care, you may wish to seek support and advice from the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) - ask a member of staff in the hospital for details of the local PALS office; there should be one in the hospital itself.
Where you have been assessed as needing care in a care home - either arranged by your local authority or privately - you are at liberty to choose the home you wish to go to, subject to certain conditions.
Care homes in the UK are registered and regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). There are a number of organisations (including your local authority) that can give you advice about choosing an appropriate home.
NB: A new law governing how the Care Quality Commission regulates health and adult social care in England came into force on 1 October 2010. This introduced a new set of essential standards of quality and safety that all care providers must meet. You can read more about these regulations and how they might affect you at: www.cqc.org.uk.
On 10 April 2013, the CQC unveiled its strategy for 2013-2016, which plans to radically overhaul the way in which services are inspected and regulated.