planning helps to make sure that you leave the hospital safely and smoothly and get
the right care after that.
You, the person who is caring for you, and your discharge planner work together to address your
concerns in a discharge plan. Whether you go home, to a relative's home, to a rehabilitation
facility, or to another health care setting, your plan outlines the care you need.
day or two before you expect to leave the hospital, ask to meet with your discharge
Your discharge planner can tell you why you are going home or to another
health care setting and why your care is changing. You will work together on:
care and services you may need after you leave. This can include nursing, physical
therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy. An agency may set up a program to
check your blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturation, or weight.
equipment you may need, such as a walker or oxygen.
Whether or not
you can get care at your home. You may need to go to another health care setting,
such as a skilled nursing facility, a rehabilitation hospital, or an assisted living
facility. Or family or friends may stay with you at your home, or you may stay with
How to best move you from the hospital to your home or to another
health care setting.
Write down any questions you have about what will
happen when you get home, what your family can do to help, or who's going to pay for
Why would your doctor say you're ready
to go home when you may not feel ready?
Talk to your doctor about your worries.
Even though you don't feel strong enough to go home, your doctor can explain why it's
important for you to go home or go to another health care setting.
really not comfortable with your doctor's recommendation that you go home, ask for
help from the hospital's patient advocate.
What if you're going to another health care setting?
If you have been living
in another health care setting-for example, a nursing home or a rehabilitation hospital-you'll
have to talk with someone about leaving for your hospital stay and then coming back
afterward. Find out what you'll have to do to get the same bed and room, and ask about
If you have been living at home but will need to go to another setting
when you leave the hospital, the discharge planner can give you a list of options.
You, a family member, or a friend will have to call around to see which one you prefer.
Things to think about when choosing another setting include:
receive your prescriptions, such as on-site or by mail order or delivery.
there are any problems with using any medical equipment.
How easy it is for
your family or caregiver to get to it and visit you.
What if you're going home?
Before you leave the hospital, talk to your nurse
or other hospital staff about things you'll have to do at home. Get information in
Your medicines. Get a list of medicines and how you take
them. Have your doctor highlight any new medicines or medicines that need to be stopped
or changed since before your hospital stay.
When you need to see the doctor
again and any follow-up tests you need.
How and when to change bandages and
How active you can be. This may include fall precautions and physical
What you can and can't eat.
Whether you need any special
equipment or supplies, such as a walker or oxygen.
What to do if you have
questions or if there is an emergency.
It's easy to think you can do everything,
but it can be hard. If you feel you or your caregiver won't or can't do certain tasks,
say so. Try to make other arrangements.
After you leave
the hospital, the best way to benefit from your treatment is to take good care of
yourself. Remember that you are the most important member of your health care team.
your doctor's instructions, which may include things like taking medicines as prescribed,
getting needed exercise, or knowing how to take care of an incision from surgery.
good care of yourself after you get back home is the best way to avoid a return trip
to the hospital.
Agency for Healthcare
Research and Quality (2011). 20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors. Patient Fact
Sheet (AHRQ Publication No. 11-0089). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research
and Quality. Also available online: http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/20tips.pdf.
DJ, et al. (2011). Becoming a responsible health care consumer. In Wellness: Concepts
and Applications, 8th ed., pp. 453-484. New York: McGraw-Hill.
et al. (2010). Discharge planning from hospital to home. Cochrane Database of Systematic
Wachter RM (2016). Quality of care and patient safety. In L Goldman,
A Schafer, eds., Goldman-Cecil Medicine, 25th ed., vol. 1, pp. 44-46. Philadelphia:
Staff Primary Medical ReviewerAdam
Husney, MD - Family Medicine John Pope, MD, MPH
- Pediatrics E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.
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