Health conditions Your Health & Wellness

Seven things to do before you or someone you love leaves the hospital

Written by Diane Archer

It’s hard enough to be in the hospital. Most of us can think only of getting out as quickly as possible. But, leaving the hospital can have its own set of risks if you’re not prepared. So, before you or someone you love leaves, here are seven things that you should do:

  1. If at all possible, have a family member or friend with you–a health care buddy–to help ensure you have all the information you need before you leave, including what you will need once you leave. You should receive a written discharge plan that provides this information.
  2. Understand and decide what will happen after discharge. Discuss the options with the doctors so that there are no surprises and make sure all your questions are answered.
  3. If you are not going home, make sure you know where you will be going and the reasons for going there, be it a nursing home or a rehab facility or another setting.
  4. Know who to call and have that person’s number if you have questions after you leave the hospital.
  5. Make a list of your medications, including any new ones, and keep the list on you. Also, understand whether there are side effects and what to do if you experience them.
  6. Know what care is needed to help prevent your condition from getting worse, what symptoms you need to look out for, and who to call if you experience any of them.
  7. Schedule follow-up appointments with your doctor and arrange for transportation to get there.

If you still have questions, review the written discharge plan with your doctor or hospital social worker. For more information, visit The Care Transitions Program. And, if you haven’t seen these seven tips on how to prepare for a hospital stay, take a look. 

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