While your loved one is in the hospital or facility, it is beneficial to contact the nurse, physical therapist or occupational therapist working with your loved one and ask:

What assistive device may be required for ambulation and transfers, such as a walker (four wheels or two were none) or cane, etc.

  • Are there any recommendations for possible equipment needs at home?
  • How is my loved one transferring?
  • How much and what type of assistance is needed for toileting, bathing, eating and taking medications?
  • What are my loved ones medications?
  • What are the follow up appointments and are they scheduled? 

It is beneficial to have any medications ready at the pharmacy and if possible available for your loved on upon discharge as well as any equipment set up at home before your loved one comes home to decrease the risk of falls and the inability to get on and off the toilet. If you cannot get in touch with the nursing or  therapy department, you should contact the discharge planner, whose role is to obtain this information and have these items ordered before the person gets home who will need them.

I will caution you that this is not a perfect world when discharge planning from a facility. Unfortunately, the ball gets dropped many times, so I would encourage you to stay on top of any planning for discharge and make sure that you are accessible to gain the information you need. Do not be afraid to contact the discharge planner and inform her that things have not happened as they should have. No one wants to see a patient go home and fail; that would be considered a "bad" discharge that places your loved one at risk of harm.

In The United States, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offers this booklet designed for patients and their caregivers as they prepare to leave a hospital or other health care setting.

The booklet also allocates space for listing medications and upcoming appointments and includes a list of agencies offering community services.

Download the CMS booklet by clicking here.

"Hospital Discharge Planning: A Guide for Families and Caregivers" is a tool from Family Care Giver Alliance.  Read to the end as  a series of basic questions caregivers can ask to help them provide better support following discharge and a checklist detailing the type of care families and caregivers may need to provide.

Download the FCA fact sheet here.

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