Caregiver And Patient Hospital Discharge Checklist
Discharging home from the hospital can be scary. Having a good checklist of things to cover in the hospital can help with a good transition back home and reduce the chances of future hospital stays. When your doctor or care team start bringing up discharge from the hospital, a little planning can go a long way. Here are some key things to consider as you prepare to discharge. Ask your care team for clarification if you do not have a clear answer or a good understanding of what is expected of you.
Hospital Discharge Checklist:
Is your home safe for you to return to? Think about stairs to get into the home? Can you get in without assistance? What about inside the home? Can you move around without assistance? Will friends and family be available to help you? If not, do you need to consider hiring a professional caregiver for a few hours a day or longer? Do you need this help to ensure your safety and to give you a good chance to recover?
Other Healthcare Services
Do you qualify for other healthcare services? Ask your care team if you qualify for home health, personal assistance services (PAS), other community services (Meals on Wheels, etc.), Adult Day Care Centers or Respite Centers, palliative care services, hospice, other consultant services, outpatient rehab at home or in a facility? Are you taking advantage of all the support services that are available in your community?
How will you get home from the hospital? Plan your trip before it is time to leave. Ask for a ride from a family member, friend or caregiver who can drive you, or talk to the discharge team about transportation. Do you have transportation to get to all the appointments you are supposed to go to?
Do you have food and other necessities at home? Running errands may be difficult when you are just coming home and recovering. Consider having a family member stock your refrigerator and pantry. Think about your meals for first few weeks when you are home. Who will prepare them? Who will help with shopping when you get home?
Do you have all the medications you need at home? There is likely going to be changes to your medications in the hospital. Be clear with your doctor and your discharge team about your medications. What will you be taking? When will you be taking those pills? What dose will you be taking? Is the dosage being changed? If so, make sure you don’t confuse your old dosages with the new dosages. Which pharmacy will medications be sent to? How will you get to the pharmacy or pick up the medications?
What is the plan for follow up care? Which doctors do you need to see after you get home? How will you get there? Be sure to write down important information or ask your loved one to take notes. Ask the care team to write down important information on your discharge plan and to review with you and show you where this information is on your paperwork.
Do you need any medical equipment? Do you need a commode, shower chair, walker, wheelchair, bedside table, oxygen, suction machine, special mattresses, therapy equipment? If you do, make a list and discuss with your care team.
Day to Day
Think about your daily routine and your day to day tasks. How independent were you prior to hospitalization? Are you back at this level? Do you have any restrictions on your daily activity? Is there anything you have been asked to avoid? Do you have additional activities added to your daily routine (like physical therapy/exercises) that you need to plan for? How will you do household chores? Have you considered temporarily hiring home caregivers to take this burden off you?
Coming back home from the hospital can be disorienting and overwhelming. Making sure you have the right support at home and thinking about your day to day before you get home can help make this transition much easier. Discuss your discharge with your doctor and listen to her advice on what she thinks is best. Then discuss detailed discharge plans with your discharge planner so you can ensure a safe discharge back home. Planning can help you get back on your feet quickly and get back to your normal level of functioning.
Even if you do not qualify for hospice, Lenity Light Hospice can assist with discharge planning. We are embedded in our service areas and have developed numerous contacts and partnerships. We work closely and are aware of support services that you may qualify for. We are happy to make an introduction, without any fees, to allow you to get the care you need.
Care management support services are available throughout the community, but these companies charge for their time which can become expensive and challenging on a limited budget. We feel strongly about giving back to the community and helping anyone who crosses our path in any way we can. If you are having difficulty in getting the support you need, give us a call and allow us to help you.
Medicare Discharge Planning Checklist. Click on file to download.