your discharge planning as soon as you enter the hospital.
- Ask who the discharge planner is, and ask to meet with him or her when you check
into the hospital.
- Ask if you don't understand something about discharge planning, your role in
the planning, or the written plan.
- Write down the name, position, and contact number of everyone involved in your
discharge planning. Take notes of your talks and decisions.
You may not feel well enough to ask the questions and take
the steps you need to create a discharge plan. You can ask a family member, a
friend, or a patient advocate to help you. Try not to make decisions about your
discharge when you feel stressed or under pressure.
about who can help you when you go home. Ask your doctor or nurse how much help
you may need and for how long. Can your partner, spouse, son, or daughter do
this? A friend? Think about work or school schedules and other duties people
What about insurance and Medicare?
Many people are
surprised to hear that their insurance or Medicare won't pay for care they
receive after they leave the hospital. Talk to your insurance company or
Medicare. Your discharge planner, a hospital social worker, or a patient
advocate also may be able to help with your concerns about payment.
You may disagree with your discharge plan. You may think that it's too
early to leave the hospital or that you need another type of care. If this
happens, talk to your discharge planner, doctor, and insurance company about
other options. If you can't agree, ask if you can challenge the discharge plan
and what the first steps are. Be sure to keep notes of all your
If you use Medicare, you have certain rights. Talk
to your state health insurance program, or visit www.medicarerights.org.
What if you're dealing with other health care settings?
If you have been living in another health care setting, 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?