Increasingly patients are being encouraged to participate more in their health care. Patients are being discharged earlier; therefore their need for information may potentially increase if they are to be involved in their care. This study explored the information that patients received prior to their discharge and, through follow-up interviews after their return home, investigated the usefulness of the information provided. Only 11 of a total 20 patients (55%) routinely received discharge information. This information was not solicited and its content was ad hoc. Nine patients (45%) did not routinely receive discharge information. If these patients needed information they had to ask for it. Despite the lack of comprehensive discharge information for the 20 surgical patients, the majority of patients (75%) did not access services after discharge. Only one of the five patients who did seek advice was in need of further medical intervention. The remaining four required further information so that they could be reassured. These findings emphasize the need for further research on the type and extent of information required by patients on their return home so that they can effectively participate in their recovery.