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Help for Caregivers: Hospital Discharge Checklist - Aging Wisely

Our previous blog posts have covered the Challenges of Hospital Discharge for Elders and Ways You Can Help an Aging Loved One Have a Safe Hospital Discharge. Now we will share some important questions you should ask in the hospital discharge process.


Did I get written discharge instructions  explained to me with time to ask questions and clarify any concerns? It is essential that both patient and a primary caregiver understand the discharge instructions as well as the recovery plan and have a chance to understand any questions.

Get information about follow up treatment and therapy that might be essential to recuperation.  There are different options for physical therapy and other services needed after a hospitalization.  Sometimes a patient would prefer to return home immediately, but may benefit more from more intensive inpatient rehabilitation.  There are also hospital-based rehab. programs which count differently to insurance, which can thus allow more coverage for conditions requiring longer therapy and recuperation.

Find out about the patient’s home care needs and what assistance may be needed in the weeks following the hospitalization.  It is essential to have a picture of what the patient’s needs might be and therefore what additional supports may be needed while recovering (this is true whether returning home or even to an assisted living facility, as needs may be different than before).  This includes reviewing the environmental safety for accomodations and falls preventions measures.

*Most times, if a patient is returning home after a hospital stay, they will receive some Skilled Home Care services, covered under Medicare or insurance.  These services often do not begin on the day of discharge and are not intended to cover custodial needs such as most of those listed above.  Medicare may cover support from a home health aide, but only as long as the patient requires skilled services such as physical therapy or a R.N. (for example for dressing changes/wound care).  If you have concerns about any of the areas above, you should talk to a licensed, private duty home care provider, such as our sister company EasyLiving, about affordable home care and transitional packages to fill any gaps.

If you would like professional advice on how to prepare for a hospital discharge, what resources are available and how to get the best after-care, Aging Wisely’s geriatric care managers provide caregiver consultations, in-hospital and home safety assessments and patient advocacy.


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