The discharge planning team of your nurse, physician and discharge planner will help you and/or your caregiver coordinate arrangements such as:

  • Home Care
  • Medical Equipment
  • Short-term Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility transfer
  • Long-term Intermediate or Custodial Care facility placement
  • Long-term Acute Care facility placement
  • Acute Rehabilitation facility transfer
  • Hospice Services
  • Other available community resources that will help with your ongoing care and recovery

Discharge Planning – Five Important Things to Know Before You Walk Out the Hospital Door

When your physician decides you are medically stable and ready to leave the hospital, he or she will authorize a hospital discharge. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are completely well – it only means that you no longer need inpatient hospital services. If you disagree, you or your caregiver can appeal your doctor’s discharge decision.

If you are a traditional Medicare patient, you were given an “Important Message from Medicare” document upon admission. If you need another copy of this notice, please ask your nurse or discharge planner. This details your rights to remain in the hospital for care and provides information on who to contact to appeal a discharge decision.

Before you can leave the hospital, there are several things that you or your caregiver must attend to. You may need to wait until after a lab or test result is received before you are able to leave the hospital. Please check with your nurse before you make arrangements with a family member or friend for assistance getting home. Your nurse will go over your discharge instructions before you leave. We are always concerned about you and your health, so we want to be sure that all of your health care needs have been met before you are discharged. The discharge process can take several hours.

Make sure you address with them the following information prior to leaving the hospital:

1. Medications list
You will receive a discharge medication information list. This is a list of what medications you are taking and in what dosage. It is provided for you to take to the next care provider. Please let your nurse or discharge planner know if you are having trouble affording your medications, as there are programs available that may be of assistance.

2. New prescriptions
Most new prescriptions will be sent electronically to your designated pharmacy. These should be included on the discharge paperwork. Any prescriptions not sent electronically will be provided by your physician or nurse. Make sure you understand the nature of each prescription medication you are prescribed, and disclose all pre-existing medications so that counteractions can be avoided.

3. Follow-up care instructions
Make sure you have paperwork that tells you:

  • What, if any, dietary restrictions you need to follow and for how long
  • What kinds of activities you can and can’t do, and for how long
  • How to properly care for any injury or incisions you may have
  • What follow-up tests you may need and when you need to schedule them
  • When you need to see your doctor
  • Any other home-care instructions for your caregiver, such as how to get you in and out of bed, how to use and monitor any equipment and what signs and symptoms are of concern
  • Telephone numbers to call if you or your caregiver have any questions pertaining to your after-hospital care

4. Other services
When you leave the hospital, you may need to spend time in a rehabilitation, skilled nursing or long term care facility. You may also have a need for further outpatient services such as testing at an imaging center, treatment at a cancer care center or receiving in-home therapy. Be sure to speak with your discharge planner to get all the details you need before you leave.

5. Community resources
You and your caregiver may feel unprepared for what will happen after your discharge. Make sure your discharge planner provides you with information about local resource agencies which provide services such as transportation, durable medical equipment, in-home nursing and respite care, etc.

Final Discharge Checklist:

Prior to leaving the hospital, refer to the checklist below to ensure all final discharge preparations have been attended to:

  • Make appropriate transportation arrangements.
  • Check with your physician for instructions on care upon your return home.
  • Provide all insurance and financial information needed to assure proper payment of your bill.
  • Double check that you have all gifts, plants, cards and any other items you brought from home.
  • Do not forget to make your follow-up appointment with your physician!