Preparing to be discharged
John Rooney, MD, is a hospitalist at Banner Gateway Medical Center.
Question: My husband will be going to the hospital soon for surgery. How should we prepare for his discharge home?
Answer: Planning ahead for going home from the hospital is vital to your recovery. In fact, I encourage my patients to start planning for discharge on the day they are admitted, and before if you have a planned admission such as surgery. Having a plan for discharge lessens anxiety when it is time to go home.
Early in your hospital stay, ask your physicians, therapists and social worker about what you will need when you go home. Depending on your medical condition, you could need ongoing therapy, medical supplies or special treatments. Many of these services take time to arrange so getting an early start is beneficial.
Sometimes patients need extensive therapy or ongoing care after leaving the hospital and may go to a rehabilitation facility before going home. Social workers assist patients and their families with identifying the appropriate facility based on a patient’s needs. Often, families choose to visit after care facilities prior to the patient’s discharge. This can take time so it is important to begin planning for this care as soon as it is deemed necessary.
Before your discharge, ask your hospitalist to send a discharge summary to your primary care physician. If you will need ongoing care after you leave the hospital, request that the hospitalist call your primary care physician. This shared information will help your physician care for you after you go home.
Be sure to tell your providers that you want to be involved in your discharge plan. You have the right to be part of these decisions. Plus, the better you understand your medical needs the more successful your recovery can be.