Discharge 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.
When it comes to reducing your hospital risks, questions are key. "Most patients simply don't ask enough questions," says Carolyn Clancy, MD, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in Rockville, Md. "But the enlightened minority who do ask questions in the hospital have a greater sense of control over their health -- and they just do better."
You should start asking questions about your hospital risks long before you check in. Next time you see your doctor -- or meet with...
What 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 them.
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 your care.