Going Home From the Hospital?
Leaving the hospital can be an overwhelming time. Unfortunately, some people find themselves back in the emergency room after a hospital discharge. The Hospital Discharge Checklist can help you or a loved one avoid this type of situation.
Written Discharge Instructions
Discharge instructions cover what, when and how to do things once you leave the hospital.
- Make sure your doctor or discharge nurse gives you written discharge instructions before you leave the hospital.
- The doctor or nurse should review the instructions with you.
- If you don't understand the instructions, don't be afraid to ask questions.
- If you have a family member or support person with you, make sure they understand the instructions as well and have the opportunity to ask questions.
- Make sure that the instructions include a contact name and phone number if you have questions after you get home.
With some hospital stays, your doctor may prescribe new medications for you to take.
- Let the hospital staff know what current medications you're taking, including vitamins, herbs, supplements and over the counter medications. It's a good idea to keep a medication list for situations like this.
- Make sure you understand the reasons for the new medications, plus possible side effects and how often you have to take the new medications.
- Get prescriptions for new medications. If you're going to have problems getting your prescriptions filled, such as not being able to afford them, let your doctor or nurse know before you leave the hospital.
- Take your medications as prescribed. Skipping medications can put you at greater risk for health problems.
Signs and Symptoms
Your discharge instructions should provide you with a list of signs or symptoms to be aware of after you leave the hospital.
- If you start experiencing some of the signs or symptoms your doctor or discharge nurse covered, make sure you follow their instructions for what to do in such cases.
- If you experience a sign or symptom not covered in the instructions, call your doctor and ask to speak to a nurse.
Usually, a follow-up appointment is scheduled with the doctor who took care of you during your hospital stay.
- Be sure to keep your follow-up appointment with the hospital doctor.
- Schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor as soon as possible. Your primary care doctor manages your overall health. Making sure they know about your hospital stay can help them help you more effectively.
Follow these tips to help make your recovery an easier one and avoid a return visit to the hospital.