Getting ready to go home

Hospital can feel like a safe place when you have been unwell. The thought of going home can be quite scary, but it should be a positive step.

Talking to your healthcare team about your concerns before you leave hospital will help them plan for when you go home.

Being at home can feel hard after you have been in hospital, even though you may have wanted to be at home while you were an inpatient. It may feel noisier (or quieter) and it may feel strange seeing that life has carried on while you have been away. You will still be recovering so you will still need time to rest.

If you live alone, it can be hard leaving hospital and having to be independent again. Make sure the people close to you know you are home so they can support you. Your social worker may also be able to arrange for you to have a home helper.

Remember your healthcare team are there to help, even after you go home, so ask them for help if you need it.

Getting ready to go home

When you are ill, the hospital can feel like a very safe place. You may look forward to going home, but the thought of being away from the hospital and your healthcare team can also be quite scary.

If everyone plans ahead and talks about any possible problems beforehand, going home should be a positive step.

Talking to people about any worries you have about going home can really help. You can often have this kind of discussion with a nurse or social worker while you are still in hospital. Start by discussing the medical things, and then go on to talk about your emotions, which are just as important. This is the time to talk about any concerns you have. For example, if you are worried the people close to you will fuss too much, or aren’t sure how going home will affect your relationships with them.

If you are going home to your family, there may be things you could agree on before you go home. For example, having a space in the house where you can have some time to yourself.

It is also important to understand that sometimes going home can be an anti-climax. You may have been looking forward to it so much that you expected everything to be fantastic. But when you get there, you may realise that everyone has continued with their lives and you feel a bit left out. It may also be very quiet at home compared to being in hospital, and this can take a while to get used to.

Remember that you haven’t fully recovered yet and you need to rest. It is also normal to feel down sometimes. Getting in touch with some close friends, including friends you made in hospital, may help. Spending time with your family, for example watching a film or playing a game, can also help you settle back into life at home.

When you’re 17, you feel ready to be more independent – move on with your life, go to university. But for me, it meant relying on my parents more.


If you live alone

It can be tough moving out of an environment where a team is there to care for you 24 hours a day. Even though you may value your independence, being ill can make you feel lonely and frightened.

Make sure the people close to you know you have returned home, so they can support you. You can also contact organisations who will understand what you are going through and offer support and guidance.

It’s okay to ask for help. People who care about you will want to help in any way they can. Some people may find it difficult to talk, but may be happy to help in practical ways, like helping with your shopping or cooking you meals. Others may be able to talk and listen to you. This can help you to share any worries and fears.

Speak to your social worker about getting a home helper if you need one. Your GP, social worker, or community nurse will also be able to tell you what help and support is available from local health, social care and voluntary organisations.

If you are going home to your family

When you lived at home before, it might have seemed as though nothing ever happened. You would have been used to the good moods, bad moods, friendships and rows in your family. If you have been in hospital for a while, it might be hard being in the middle of it all again.

You might also find it difficult to get any privacy. In hospital, you could close your curtains or go back to your room when you were tired, and people would know not to disturb you. That is not always as easy at home.

If you have a small family, or there aren’t many people living at home, things might seem very quiet compared to being in hospital.

It can take time to get used to being at home again. And having cancer might have affected your relationships with your parents or carers, brothers and sisters or other family members.

Your healthcare team will have helped lots of people in a similar situation, so ask them for help if you need it.

Amrik reading a book Amrik on missing out

'I was turning 18 and going out partying. It’s not a time you want to be ill. You want to be fighting fit and enjoying life'