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Discharge planning helps to make
sure that you leave the hospital safely and smoothly and get the right care
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.
A day or two before you expect to leave the hospital, ask to meet with your discharge planner.
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:
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 your care.
To help you plan what you'll need after leaving
the hospital, use this hospital discharge checklisthospital discharge checklist(What is a PDF document?).
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.
If you're really not comfortable with your doctor's recommendation that you go home, ask for help from the hospital's patient advocate.
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 any costs.
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:
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 writing about:
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.
Follow 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.
Taking good care of yourself after you get back home is the best way to avoid a return trip to the hospital.
This Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) website has evidence-based tips on staying healthy, choosing quality care, getting safe care, understanding diseases, comparing medical treatments, and more. AHRQ is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It supports research that will help people make more informed decisions and improve the quality of health care services.
The National Patient Safety Foundation is an organization dedicated
to improving the safety of patients. The foundation works to raise public
awareness about patient safety and is a resource for people and organizations
who are concerned about the safety of patients.
This website aims to help patients and their caregivers make the transition from one health care setting to another go as smoothly as possible. For instance, the website has resources about being discharged from the hospital to another health care setting, working with various health care providers, keeping track of medicines, and more.
Other Works Consulted
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:
Anspaugh DJ, et al. (2011). Becoming a responsible health care consumer. In Wellness: Concepts and Applications, 8th ed., pp. 453–484. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Hyman D (2012). Advancing the quality and safety of care. In WW Hay Jr et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Pediatrics, 21st ed., pp. 1–8. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Shepperd S, et al. (2010). Discharge planning from hospital to home. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).
Wachter RM (2012). Quality of care and patient safety. In L Goldman, A Shafer, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine, 24th ed., pp. 41–44. Philadelphia: Saunders.
December 18, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
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