Don’t  Leave Until…

5 things to know before you leave the hospital.

When it’s time to be released from the hospital, your doctor will authorize a hospital discharge. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are completely well—it only means that you no longer need hospital services. If you are a Medicare patient and you disagree, you or your caregiver can appeal the decision. The document you were given when you were admitted to the hospital titled, “An Important Message from Medicare,” explains your right to remain the hospital for care and provides information about appealing a discharge decision.

On the other hand, you may be pleased to learn that your doctor has approved your discharge. However, before you can leave the hospital, you or your caregiver must do several things.

The first step is to know who will be involved in your discharge process. This starts with the hospital’s discharge planner. You and your caregiver should meet this person relatively early in your hospital stay; if not, find out who this person is and be sure to meet with him or her well before your expected discharge date.
Make sure you have the following information before you leave the hospital:

1. Medications list. This is a listing of the medications you are taking, why, in what dosage, and who prescribed them.

2. Rx. A prescription for any medications you need following your stay with us.

3. Follow-up care instructions. Make sure you have paperwork that tells you:
• what, if any, dietary restrictions you need to follow and for how long;
• what kinds of activities you can and can’t do, and for how long;
• how to properly care for any injury or incisions you may have;
• what follow-up tests you may need and when you need to schedule them;
• what medicines you must take, why, and for how long;
• when you need to see your doctor n any other home-care instructions for your caregiver, such as how to get you in and out of bed, how to use and monitor any equipment, and what signs and symptoms may indicate a problem; and
• telephone numbers to call if you or your caregiver has any questions pertaining to your after-hospital care.

4. Other services. When you leave the hospital, you many need to spend time in a rehabilitation facility, nursing home, or other institution. Alternatively, you may need to schedule tests at an imaging center, have treatments at a cancer center, or have in-home therapy. Be sure to speak with your nurse or doctor to get all the details you need before you leave. Please check with your insurance provider to confirm where post-hospitalization services are authorized to be performed under your insurance plan.

5. Community resources. You and your caregiver may feel unprepared for what will happen after your discharge. Make sure your case manager provides you with information about local resources, such as agencies that can provide services like transportation, equipment, home care, and other agencies that can help with patient care and respite care.

Healthcare Services Defined

Home Healthcare
Part-time healthcare provided by medical professionals in a patient’s home to maintain or restore health. Home care includes a range of skilled and non-skilled services, including part-time nursing care, therapy, assistance with daily activities, and homemaker services such as cleaning and meal preparation. Medicare defines home healthcare as intermittent, physician-ordered medical services or treatment.

Durable Medical Equipment
Medical equipment that is ordered by a doctor for use in a patient’s home. Examples are walkers, crutches, wheelchairs, and hospital beds. DME is paid for under Medicare Part B and Part A for home health services if you qualify based upon Medicare guidelines.

Independent Living
Communities for seniors who are very independent and have few medical problems. Residents live in private apartments. Meals, housekeeping, maintenance, social outings, and events are provided.

Assisted Living
An apartment in a long-term care facility for elderly or disabled people who can no longer live on their own but who don’t need a high level of care. Assisted living facilities provide assistance with medications, meals in a cafeteria or restaurant-like setting, and housekeeping services. Nursing staff is on-site. Most facilities have social activities and provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, shopping, etc.

Nursing Home (Skilled Nursing Facility)
A residential facility for people with chronic illness or disability, particularly elderly people who need assistance for most or all of their daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, and toileting. Nursing homes provide 24-hour skilled care and are also called convalescent homes or long-term care facilities. Many nursing homes also provide short-term rehabilitative stays for patients recovering from an injury or illness. Some facilities also have a separate unit for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or memory loss.

A licensed or certified program that provides care for people who are terminally ill and their families.

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