We believe that planning for a patient’s discharge from hospital should begin as soon as they are admitted ensuring that hospital staff are able to help in the transition to home care or some other destination.
Newcastle and Hunter Community Health know how important it is to plan for a positive focus on future health and as such we strongly encourage carers and/or patients to be as involved in their planning process as possible.
Numerous studies have shown that pre-planning a patients’ discharge from hospital has a positive effect on their recovery as well as their long-term health outcomes. The plan should cover items such as support, treatment outside of hospital, each person’s responsibilities as well as how often external care will be provided.
Depending on the patients’ needs, their discharge may consist of a combination of options. These include:
- Returning home unaided
- Returning home with additional care arrangements
- Respite in an aged care facility
- Palliative care; or
- Community care packages
Newcastle and Hunter Community Health advise speaking with the professional staff at the hospital to determine which avenue is best suited to the circumstances.
What needs to happen prior to discharge?
Prior to you or your loved one being discharged from hospital it is important to arrange a meeting with those involved in their care. We advise that this meeting should take place at least 24 hours prior to discharge, to ensure that all advice is timely and relevant to the discharge process.
What should be discussed at the meeting?
During your pre-discharge meeting with the health care providers we suggest discussing the following:
- What do the patient’s future care needs look like?
- Is there any equipment required?
- What is the follow-up schedule for appointments and medication?
- What sort of adjustments need to be made to their home?
Take as many notes as possible during this time and don’t be afraid to ask any questions that spring to mind. The health care professionals at the hospital are there to help and ensure that the patients’ treatment and discharge go smoothly to reduce the potential for a return admission due to lack of proper care and planning.
Tips for a safe hospital discharge
Here are some additional questions that could be asked before the hospital discharge occurs:
- Does the patient understand what happened in hospital?
- Does the patient and/or carer understand what further treatment is required now – and in the future?
- Has their GP been informed of the admission and of their discharge plan? Which medications are required? Is there enough of those medications to get through until the next appointment with the GP?
- When are the patients’ follow-up appointments?
- Has transport been arranged?
Hospital admissions can be a stressful time for patients and their carers which is why we offer support services to help keep your loved ones at home longer.
To find out more, please get in touch with our friendly team.