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If you’re there for someone after they leave hospital, it’s important to be aware of how their needs may have changed since they went in. About 70% of patients require more support once they are at home to one degree or another. This may be for a few days, a few weeks or longer.

Here are some tips on managing the hospital discharge process:

Confirm Your Main Points of Contact

During a hospitalization there’s a host of people involved. Families have the right to know who you can voice questions and concerns to, as well as what treatments are planned. 

Speak up About Unfamiliar Terms

Medical terminology and ‘jargon’ can be confusing and intimidating.  Don’t be afraid to ask what things mean and how treatments and procedures will affect someone once they are recovering at home. Asking for clarity will make you and your family feel more confident about what’s going on.

Communicate Early and Often on Next Steps

It can be stressful to think about what’s next, especially if you’re taking it one day at a time; however, when in hospital, you should determine if the intent is to discharge your loved one to home or a facility as early as possible.  This will help you to prepare for next steps, such as finding a facility if given a choice, preparing the home for your loved one’s return and finding the appropriate level of care / assistance.

Understand Your Rights

You have the right to appeal a discharge if you feel your loved one is being released too early.  Don’t wait to discuss this.  If you have a concern, raise it to the discharge planner and/or medical team immediately.

Take Care of Yourself

Burnout is real!  Caring for a loved one can be physically and mentally exhausting.  Don’t ignore your own needs for food, rest and sleep.  If anything, take a few minutes for a walk outside to clear your head