Discharge planning is vital for when a senior loved one is returning home after stay in a nursing home or care facility

Patient Discharge Planning: What to Expect in Your Final Destination

Going home can be nerve wracking.

The final stage of Discharge Planning can bring with it a sense of dread, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Fortunately, it can help to know these tips for the transition and gain a little insight on what to expect.

From rehabilitation facilities to nursing homes, here are some things you should expect upon leaving the hospital:


Home –

If the patient is going home, make sure that the family/caregivers are aware of everything that needs to be done. They should understand any responsibilities they have and be well educated on the needs of the patient. Responsibilities may include personal and home care, which covers eating, bathing, cooking, cleaning, and any other household duties that may be necessary.

Knowing a patient’s healthcare needs is especially important. The caregiver will want to always be aware of any medications and treatments. Don’t forget to include any doctor visits, support systems, or community activities referred by the doctor.



It is vital to understand that rehab is very different from hospital care.  When coming from the hospital, the rehab staff will have been fully informed about the patient’s condition and treatments from the doctors at the hospital so that there are no holes in the transition.

The patient is required to participate in certain activities whether they are central to their recovery or not. It is meant to be a positive and upbeat atmosphere with people who are up and about, as opposed to being glued to a hospital bed.

The family has multiple responsibilities and be expected to participate and put effort into the patient’s recovery. They should be present for medical meetings and help provide for the patient while also allowing them to be independent.

Rehab is not meant to last for months on end; it should only take several weeks. It should be a temporary healing home to help improve the patient’s mental and physical condition enough so that they can return home.



Nursing Home

The move from a hospital to a nursing home can be difficult, like any move. Typically, it is a very emotional shift for both the patients and the family. As a family member, one should be there for the new resident and make sure that they’re there to listen but also allow some time for themselves to cope. Be sure that the resident becomes familiar with the routines of the nursing home like meal times and visitation. Encouraged them to participate in activities that keep their mind and body active and to help get them comfortable with the new living environment.

Good communication is a very important aspect of life in a nursing home. The staff has many patients to consider but make sure that the needs and requests of the patient are being met and answered. Be aware that schedules can change and adjusted in response to problems with residents. In choosing a nursing home, make sure that it is well equipped to deal with the specific needs of the patient and has everything desired. It is important that everyone is comfortable with the final choice.

When moving from a hospital to a nursing home, if the patient was not officially admitted to the hospital, Medicare will not cover the cost of their first 20 days at the nursing home. This is crucial to know. Often doctors will place these patient under observation instead of formally admitting them, unbeknownst to the patient. Do not assume upon discharge that the patient was initially admitted or you may be in for quite a shock after entering the nursing home.

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