What You Need To Know Before Your Senior Leaves the Hospital

senior leaves the hospital

Preparing before your senior leaves the hospital is essential for recovery

Studies show that 40% of patients over 65 had medication errors after leaving the hospital. Even worse, 18% of Medicare patients discharged from a hospital were readmitted within 30 days.

Many of the issues that cause problems with recovery could be prevented if you and your older adult are well-prepared for hospital discharge.


What does hospital discharge mean?

When your senior is discharged (released) from the hospital, it means their doctor has determined that they’ve recovered enough to no longer need hospital-level care. It does NOT mean they’re fully recovered.

Even though your older adult is able to leave the hospital, they will still need extra care. They might even need an intense level of care for weeks or months.

Some people are well enough to get proper care and rehab at home (like physical therapy). Others may need a short-term stay in a skilled nursing facility.


What is a successful hospital discharge?

A successful discharge means that your older adult leaves the hospital and continues their recovery without major problems.

Being prepared for the next step down in care, whether it’s at home or in a facility, is important for a strong recovery. You should receive the information, services, and resources needed to help your senior before they leave the hospital.


Why aren’t seniors prepared for discharge?

Hospital discharge nurses are often overloaded and may not spend enough time helping patients and family understand everything they need to know.

That’s why it’s so important to advocate for your senior and make sure you both have all the necessary information before leaving the hospital.


How a hospital discharge checklist helps you

A hospital discharge checklist is an essential tool that prepares you and your senior for a successful recovery. It tells you key questions to ask, what information is must-have, the level of care needed, and what supplies to get.

Medicare has a useful checklist that we recommend. It’s free and covers the important things you’ll need to know.


How to get your senior to accept needed help

A critical part of a good recovery is making sure your older adult follows the doctor’s instructions.

Some seniors may have unrealistic expectations about what they’ll be able to do on their own after leaving the hospital. If that’s happening, ask a doctor or nurse to explain to both of you what they’ll actually be able to do and what will be impossible.

Hearing directly from a medical professional is an effective way to convince your senior to accept the help they need. It also helps you know what’s needed so you can arrange for the proper care.


Bottom line

This planning might sound overwhelming, especially since you’re probably still in shock from the overall hospital experience. But being well-prepared for discharge is critical to your senior’s recovery and will make things easier for both of you.

Use this hospital discharge checklist to help you remember the important things and prevent problems. A successful discharge helps your senior regain as much independence as possible.


Next Step  Get the free Medicare Discharge Planning Checklist


You might also like:
18 Hospital Tips from Insiders Improve Seniors’ Care and Recovery
Hospitalization Can Cause Delirium in Seniors: Know the Signs
How to Lower Medical Bills: CoPatient Helps Seniors and Caregivers


By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Sources: Family Caregiver Alliance
Image: Cookeville Regional Medical Center


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