When it’s time to be released from the hospital, your physician will authorize a hospital discharge.
Before you can leave the hospital, there are several things you or your caregiver must attend to. The first step is to know who will be involved in your discharge process. This starts with the hospital’s discharge planner, who might be a nurse, social worker or administrator, or might have some other title. You and your caregiver should meet this person relatively early in your hospital stay; if not, find out who this person is and be sure to meet with him/her well before your expected discharge date.
Before You Leave the Hospital
Make sure you have the following information before you leave the hospital:
- 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 may 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 physician
- 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
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 in-home therapy. Be sure speak with your nurse or physician to get all the details you need before you leave.
You and your caregiver may feel unprepared for what will happen after your discharge. Make sure your discharge planner provides you with information about local resources, such as agencies that can provide services like transportation, equipment, home care and respite care, and agencies that can help with patient care and respite care.
Home Health Care
Part-time health care provided by medical professionals in a patient’s home to maintain or restore health. It includes a wide range of skilled and non-skilled services, including part-time nursing care, therapy, and assistance with daily activities and homemaker services, such as cleaning and meal preparation. Medicare defines home health care as intermittent, physician-ordered medical services or treatment. Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Medical equipment that is ordered by a doctor for use in a patient’s home. Examples are walkers, crutches, wheelchairs and hospital beds. DME is paid for under both Medicare Part B and Part A for home health services. Independent Living Communities for seniors who are very independent and have few medical problems. Residents live in private apartments. Meals, housekeeping, maintenance and social outings and events are provided.
An apartment in a long-term care facility for elderly or disabled people who can no longer live on their own but who don’t need a high level of care. Assisted-living facilities provide assistance with medications, meals in a cafeteria or restaurant-like
setting, and housekeeping services. Nursing staff is on site. Most facilities have social activities and provide transportation to doctors’ appointments, shopping, etc.
A residential facility for people with chronic illness or disability, particularly elderly people who need assistance for most or all of their daily living activities such as bathing, dressing and toileting. Nursing homes provide 24-hour skilled care, and are also called convalescent homes or long-term care facilities. Many nursing homes also provide short-term rehabilitative stays for patients recovering from an injury or illness. Some facilities also have a separate unit for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or memory loss.
A licensed or certified program that provides care for people who are terminally ill and for their families. Hospice care can be provided at home, in a hospice or other freestanding facility or within a hospital. Also referred to as “palliative” care, hospice care emphasizes the management of pain and discomfort and addresses the physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological, financial, and legal needs of the patient and his or her family.