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Your discharge from the hospital

Discharge planning begins upon admission to the hospital, and you will not be alone in this process. Based on your medical needs, you may be assigned a case manager or social worker. If you and your care team decide you need services such as home care, physical rehabilitation or long term care, a case manager or social worker will discuss these arrangements with you.

You may also request to see them if you feel you will need help. For example:

  • You feel you will need help at home.
  • You have concerns about obtaining or paying for medication.
  • You have concerns about your insurance coverage.
  • You have questions about applying for Medicaid.
  • You need assistance with long-term healthcare planning.
  • You would like to have community resources such as support groups.

Your assigned hospital medicine specialist (“hospitalist”) is in charge of coordinating your care and ensuring a safe discharge. At that time, he or she will:

  • Review and update your medications
  • Review your records including your most recent test results
  • Create a comprehensive summary of your care in the electronic health record
  • Prepare discharge education materials for your use
  • Communicate with your consultants, your primary care physician and other members of your healthcare team to safely and precisely transition your care to your outpatient providers before your release

Our hospital medicine physicians make every effort to complete these steps before 2pm on your day of discharge. If for any reason we anticipate a later time, our staff will communicate with you about an estimated discharge time. Please don’t hesitate to direct any questions to your nurse manager or to your treating hospitalist.

Your written discharge instructions will be reviewed with you by your registered nurse. Please use that time to ask all your questions. We want to ensure that you have a clear understanding of how to manage your health. Your written discharge instructions will include prescribed medications, diet, treatments and follow-up appointments.

Tips to make the discharge process run smoothly

  • Verify your discharge date and time with your nurse or doctor.
  • Check your room, bathroom and bedside table carefully for any personal items.
  • After getting connected with a case manager or social worker, ask your nurse for clarification regarding any aspects of the discharge process that you do not understand.
  • Organize your paperwork for billing, referrals, prescriptions, etc., so you can leave the hospital feeling confident that you have and understand everything that you need. Your discharge paperwork should tell 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 have
    • What follow-up tests you may need and when you need to schedule them
    • What medicines you must take, why, and for how long
    • 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 to watch out for
    • Telephone numbers to call if you or your caregiver has any questions pertaining to your after-hospital care
  • Have someone available to pick you up if possible.

Other services

When you leave the hospital, you may need to spend time in a rehabilitation facility, nursing home or other institution; or you may need to schedule tests at an imaging center, have treatments at a cancer center or have home care services. Be sure to speak with your nurse or physician to get all the details and referrals you need before you leave. They can also provide information about local resources, such as agencies that can provide services like transportation and equipment.

Pick up procedure

Verify your discharge date and time with your nurse or doctor. Routine discharge time is 11am. Be sure someone is available to pick you up.