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Hospital Discharge Planning

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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 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:

  • How you'll receive your prescriptions, such as on-site or by mail order or delivery.
  • If 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 writing about:

  • 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 dressings.
  • How active you can be. This may include fall precautions and physical therapy.
  • 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.

Staying healthy

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.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 18, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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