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Can you leave hospital without being discharged?

(25 Posts)
MoanaofMotunui Tue 24-Apr-18 14:15:19

Random thought popped into my head today, does anyone know the answer?

I'm not sure what context I'm asking this, so sorry if it sounds odd! Let's say a day-surgery patient with a fear of hospitals wants to leave a few hours after their operation. I know they can self discharge, but what happens if this procedure is taking a long time and their anxiety is really overwhelming them?

Can you just walk out of a hospital. Obviously if a person is feeling well enough too. I think I have too much time on my hands today!!

MoanaofMotunui Tue 24-Apr-18 14:15:51

Sorry "well enough to"

hotstepper4 Tue 24-Apr-18 14:17:46

Well yes, they can't force you to stay.

I discharged myself 24 hrs after my C section, they advised against it but I hadn't slept for nearly 3 days at the point, I was bewildered and unhappy and needed to get out of there. I had to sign a form stating that if something happened to me after leaving the hospital against their wishes, they would not be liable.

Iruka Tue 24-Apr-18 14:18:26

I don’t see how they can stop you. But depending on how ill or vulnerable you were, you might have a visit from the police for a welfare check.

nomorespaghetti Tue 24-Apr-18 14:18:31

I've always wondered this too, i guess you can, they're not going to rugby tackle you to the floor. I've been in several times with my daughter over the last year, and getting discharged can take ages. I did leave with her once, then popped back in the evening to pick up her medication and forms. They didn't mind that.

MollyDaydream Tue 24-Apr-18 14:22:29

Of course you can, unless you have been sectioned.

You might be prevented from removing a child though.

Kaykay06 Tue 24-Apr-18 14:24:28

Depends really, the rules on how long you need to stay after anaesthetics and certain procedures varies. You need to speak to the nurses looking after you and explain your anxiety and the surgeon carrying out the prodedure often lets you know how long you’ll be likely to stay.

Generally it’s up to the nurse when you are discharged as long as you’ve done certain things and are well enough and have any follow up care and meds you require to go home with, along with someone to take you home if that is a requirement.

If you just up and leave they would become worried you’d collapsed somewhere or were in a vulnerable position and send people out looking. So ask to be discharged early if you can be and be honest about your anxieties. You can’t be helped if the staff don’t know the full story, it’s hard - I am a nurse and I don’t like being a patient (i don’t look after adults) I get quite stressed etc.

I hope the experience isn’t as stressful as you think, you could possibly let them know your worries prior to admission flowers

iklboo Tue 24-Apr-18 14:26:15

You can self discharge against medical advice but need to sign documents to say it's entirely your decision and you've been told the risks.

ProzacAndWine Tue 24-Apr-18 14:28:38

They can't physically stop from leaving, unless you're on a psychiatric ward behind locked doors.

Bowlofbabelfish Tue 24-Apr-18 14:29:32

Yes. But it’s usually wise to wait for discharge

ProzacAndWine Tue 24-Apr-18 14:29:53

Of course you can, unless you have been sectioned.

In my experience, even if you're a voluntary inpatient on a psychiatric ward, they won't just let you leave without being properly discharged.

Secretsout Tue 24-Apr-18 14:32:30

Yes you can. You are not a prisoner. You would be asked to sign a form to say you are self discharging against medical advice.

Ollivander84 Tue 24-Apr-18 14:34:14

You can, I discharged myself while waiting for spinal surgery against advice

PonderLand Tue 24-Apr-18 14:37:10

I left hospital without been discharged, i was waiting with a newborn for 12 hours for the paperwork (no medication) and they were fine with it. I had to sign a form.

On my ward we do stop dementia patients from leaving usually by saying 'it's lunch time' 'have a cup of tea' etc and lock the doors. Adult patients too who are waiting for raid to speak with them/mh team. The doctors & nurses who have to get people to stay are verrrry persuasive when they know it's in the patients best interests. If you're medically fit for discharge then they want the process to be as quick as possible too

kateclarke Tue 24-Apr-18 14:37:43

Look up the mental capacity act.

This is what we use to ascertain if a patient who is not under section is capable of choosing to self discharge.

tortelliniforever Tue 24-Apr-18 14:39:47

I sneaked out of a maternity ward after 3 days to go home and have a shower. They didn't notice until I got caught going back in!

LuluJakey1 Tue 24-Apr-18 14:40:59

Yes. I left after a D and C when anxiety just overcame me. I recover very quickly from general anaesthetics and was out if bed and dressed as soon as I got back on the ward. I asked and asked becayse of anxiety and I had to sign something but left 2 hours afterwards - about 12 when they wanted me to stay until after 4.

ProzacAndWine Tue 24-Apr-18 14:44:53

Adult patients too who are waiting for raid to speak with them/mh team.

I was thinking of this. I was in hospital (obbs ward) for a while after a stupid overdose incident last year. An open shared ward, and I could have just got up and left, in practice, as far as I could see. After I'd been deemed medically just fine, I was keen to get home. The nurse responsible told me I wasn't allowed to leave before a raid assessment, which was taking ages to arrange. I didn't try to leave or argue, but really wonder what on earth they had done if I'd just left when the nurse was otherwise occupied? I wasn't under any kind of a section, after all.

Meopham Tue 24-Apr-18 15:06:02

You can leave. You don't have to sign anything. They might ask you to, but they have no powers over you

Heatherjayne1972 Tue 24-Apr-18 15:21:14

Yes you can
Unless you’ve been sectioned or are a minor you aren’t forced to stay or have any kind of treatment
But you’d be silly to. They don’t want you there any longer than absolutely necessary anyway

GorgonLondon Tue 24-Apr-18 15:23:07

Yes I did after having both of my kids as I couldn't wait another day for the doctor to have time to discharge me. I needed sleep and a proper wash.

Meopham Tue 24-Apr-18 15:24:28

or are a minor you aren’t forced to stay or have any kind of treatment
Even minors are under no requirement to stay. Why would they be? confused

MrsRyanGosling15 Tue 24-Apr-18 15:29:25

Yes you can leave and sign the forms to say its against medical advise. You can also just get up an walk out if you really want to but God I hate when any patient does this. The paperwork, phone calls etc are just things I don't have time for. It's a real pain. Saying that most people know they need to be there and are grateful for the help. I find it's usually patients who weren't in with something very serious and refuse to believe how long it takes to get discharge letters/medication etc and get a bit mouthy with me. No matter how many times I explain I've nothing to do with these things.

reallybadidea Tue 24-Apr-18 16:03:47

You don't necessarily have to be sectioned. If it's considered that you don't have capacity and need to be in hospital then you can be prevented from leaving. For instance I've been involved with situations where a post-op patients who is suffering from delirium has walked off the ward and we've needed to sedate them to return them to the hospital. Obviously this is a real worst-case scenario and there are safeguarding measures in place (deprivation of liberty safeguards) to ensure that the patient has someone to advocate for them and that it is for the minimum length of time etc.

PaddyF0dder Tue 24-Apr-18 16:13:09

Assuming you’re not detained or incapacitated, of course.

It’s a bit of a “** you” to the people delivering your treatment though.

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