NHS health professionals now have less excuse to ignore carers' needs following the publication of a good practice guide by charity Carers UK.
The charity is concerned that patients are being discharged too early without adequate consultation with friends and family and that Government proposals to tackle bed-blocking will only exacerbate this.
Carers should be given a choice about whether they wish to take on or continue to take responsibility for their relative, recommends the good practice guide, The Hospital Discharge Practice Briefing.
The guide's publication coincided with the Department of Health's consultation deadline on bed-blocking.
Proposals to get local authorities to reimburse NHS Trusts for discharge delay will make it even less likely that carers get consulted, said Rory Hegarty, press spokesman at Carers UK.