10-Point Hospital Discharge Checklist

Get the information you need to help ensure a successful recovery after a hospital stay. Use this checklist before you go home.

by NEA Member Benefits

Share

Circle with check mark 
10-Point Hospital Discharge Checklist
 

As your hospital stay nears its end, a registered nurse will review written discharge instructions with you to make sure you understand everything, including your medications, follow-up doctor visits, therapy arrangements and more. Here’s what you need to know and do during that conversation to ensure your successful recovery.

 
Point 1 Graphic: Doctor with patient and friend

ASK SOMEONE ELSE TO BE PRESENT AND ASK QUESTIONS

You’ll likely be tired and feeling less than 100%, so you may have difficulty concentrating on or processing the important information the nurse is giving you.
 

Point 2 Graphic: Magnifying glass

CAREFULLY REVIEW ALL DISCHARGE PAPERWORK

Make sure you completely understand each instruction, change of routine, follow-up appointment, etc. If you don’t understand something, ask to talk with a doctor. It’s best to get clarification before you’re discharged.
 

 
Point 3 Graphic: Pencil writing on paper

TAKE DETAILED NOTES

Make some key notes on the discharge paperwork so you can refer to it easily for reminders and clarification. If needed, ask for extra paper so you can make notes for future reference.
 

 
Point 4 Graphic: Exclamation point in yellow triangle 

ASK FOR ANY WARNING SIGNS YOU SHOULD WATCH FOR

What should you look out for that could signal a problem? What might you see or feel that could indicate something isn’t right? Ask what you should do and who you should call if you see signs or have symptoms.
 

 
Point 5 Graphic: Pill bottle with question mark on label

ASK ABOUT ALL OF YOUR MEDICINES

Look at the name and dosage of each medicine. Is there a medication that isn’t listed? Is there any new medication you weren’t taking before? Has the dosage changed on a medication? If so, ask why.
 

 
Point 6 Graphic: Patient with supportive person 

DISCUSS HOW TO GET HOME SAFELY FROM THE HOSPITAL

Do you need someone to drive you? Once home, you may need additional assistance getting out of the car, walking up steps, etc. This is especially important if you’ve had major surgery. Get instructions as to your limits.
 

 
Point 7 Graphic: Calendar and clock

REVIEW LIST OF FOLLOW-UP DOCTOR VISITS AND TESTS

Find out how soon you should have your appointments. Confirm if you are responsible for making these appointments yourself, and be sure you have the names and phone numbers of all the doctors you need to contact.
 

 
Point 8 Graphic: Patient in wheelchair 

ASK IF YOU NEED MEDICAL EQUIPMENT

Ask what you need for your safety and/or recovery, how and where you should arrange to get it, and when you must have it. Provide information about your home environment so everyone involved has a clear picture of what kind of help you’ll need.
 

 
Point 9 Graphic: Patient with Physical Therapist

CONFIRM THE NEED FOR HOME HEALTH SERVICES OR IN-HOME REHABILITATION

Communicate your living situation to provide an accurate picture of help you will require. If responsible for arranging necessary services, find out who you need to call and when so your assistance can begin as soon as possible.
 

 
Point 10 Graphic: Phone 

GET THE NAME AND NUMBER OF PERSON TO CALL IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS

Once back home, you may have questions about wound care, medications, follow-up visits, exercise, diet, etc. It’s important to have contact information for someone at the hospital whom you can call to get answers.
 

 
This guide was prepared by the plan administrator using information from interviews with medical professionals and online research.
 

NOTE: If discharged on a weekend or a holiday, you may discover you’re not able to reach the people you need or set up services immediately. Be aware of this when you’re reviewing your discharge instructions and ask specifically about whether this will cause any problem for you and how you should handle it.
 

NEA Member Benefits 
Program Administered by Mercer Health & Benefits Administration LLC
In CA d/b/a Mercer Health & Benefits Insurance Service LLC
AR Insurance License #100102691 | CA Insurance License #0G39709

 

87375 (10/19) Copyright 2019 Mercer LLC. All rights reserved.


Download a one-page PDF version of this checklist.

 

Older couple - Husband smiling when wife gives him a kiss on the cheek

NEA® CarePlus Hospital Income Insurance Plan

If you’re 65 and older, you can get help paying for some of the costs associated with a hospital stay and recovery time that your health insurance may not cover, such as over-the-counter drugs, child and pet care, meals and more.