Your Simple Hospital Discharge Planning Guide
If you’re having surgery soon, these hospital discharge tips can help you be prepared while you’re recovering at home.
- Ask someone else to be present. Having an extra person in your hospital room will help you understand and remember the important information the nurse is giving you.
- Carefully review your hospital discharge papers. Make sure you completely understand your discharge summary. If you don’t, be sure to ask questions before you leave.
- Take detailed notes. You’ll probably be receiving a lot of information and instructions about what to do once you’re back home, so make a note of everything the doctor or nurse is telling you so you won’t forget. Ask for specifics, and write it all down – or have a loved one or friend take notes for you.
- Ask about important warning signs. Your condition could change once you leave the hospital, so you need to know if there are any signs you ought to watch out for that could indicate trouble. You want to be able to contact the doctor or seek medical help quickly.
- Ask about your medicines. Look at names and dosages of your medications. Has anything changed? If so, be sure you understand what to take and when.
- Review your transportation plans. Depending on your surgery, you may not be able to drive yourself home. Do you have a ride? Do you need help getting in and out of the car or your house?
- Ask about follow-up doctor visits. Find out how soon your follow‐up appointments need to be, and whether you’re responsible for making them yourself.
- Ask if you’ll need any medical equipment. You might need a wheelchair, a walker, bathroom safety items or other equipment as you recover. Describe your home to better assess the equipment you may need. If you do need equipment, ask how and where you will get it.
- Ask if you’ll need home services. If you’ll need in‐home health services while you recuperate, find out who you need to call and when so your assistance can begin as soon as possible.
- Get contact information in case you have follow-up questions. Get the name and phone number of a contact at the hospital whom you can call if needed. Once you’re back home, you may have questions. It’s important to know who to call when you need help.
Download a one-page PDF version of this checklist.