If you cannot return home or don't have anywhere to live after you will be discharged from hospital you must tell hospital nursing staff as soon as possible. They will ask the hospital discharge team to help if they can. The Hospital Discharge Team should refer you to our Housing Team. The Housing Team will then contact you to complete a housing needs assessment or homeless application depending on your circumstances. We may ask you questions about your housing history, people you live with, your physical and mental health, income and any support or care you may need in order to live independently. This will help us provide you with the best advice and assistance to help with your housing query. We will always try to prevent you from becoming homeless where possible and we will take into account your health needs when assessing whether you are vulnerable and ‘in priority’ need for emergency accommodation. If you have a home already but it needs to be adapted, the hospital will refer you for an assessment by an Occupational Therapist as part of a care package. An Occupational Therapist assessment is necessary to inform any adaptations that may be needed. You could get Disabled Facilities Grant Assistance through your Council. If you are not able to return home, we will look at other housing options including supported accommodation, social housing and private rented housing. We may also consider respite care or staying temporarily with family and friends to assist with your health and care needs. The Housing Team can advise you on general needs, low level supported housing and sheltered (housing for older people) only. If you have specialist health needs that require specialist accommodation to manage those needs you should speak with your health care professional regarding the type of accommodation that you will need. We may ask to speak with your Occupational Therapist around the types of accommodation that will be suitable. We also work closely with social care regarding any care and support packages that you may need to manage accommodation, for example, help with shopping, cooking, washing and dressing. If you feel that you require help with your care and support needs when you leave hospital, you should ask the hospital nursing staff for a social care assessment. You can contact Staffordshire Cares on 0300 111 8010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For urgent or out of office queries, contact 0345 604 2886. Managing hospital stays If you have to go into hospital on a pre-planned basis, it is important you consider the following in order to ensure your accommodation remains available to you upon discharge: Benefits: If you're receiving benefits you will need to tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that you're in hospital as this may affect your entitlement. Money, bills and debts: You will need to think about how your money is managed while in hospital. Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Allowance and Attendance Allowance stop if you are in hospital for 28 days, however you can continue to get housing benefit for up to 52 weeks. You could make a plan with a relative or friend so they know what to do if you have to go into hospital. They could help with your finances while you are in hospital. If your benefit is suspended while you are in hospital, you may need to make a new claim for Universal Credit.