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8 Ways to Help Ensure a Successful Hospital-to-Home Transition

Be an active presence in the discharge planning process.

Why: Since you're the expert on your loved one and will likely share in the burden of care, your input is essential. To plan for a safe discharge, most hospitals use dedicated professionals known as discharge planners. They usually have a background in either nursing or social work. Other facilities use case managers or other administrators, and, in some cases, a discharge team confers.

What you can do:

  • Be sure to meet with the discharge planner(s). The hospital team will need to understand, for example, what kind of help the patient normally receives at home. Because almost all older adults need extra assistance during the days to weeks following a hospitalization, the hospital team will also need to know how much extra help and supervision family and other caregivers can provide.

  • Be candid. If you feel the hospital team is expecting you to take on a degree of caregiving that you aren't comfortable with, be sure to speak up. Usually the hospital team will find a way to address your concerns.

  • Don't be railroaded into plans that aren't workable. By law, you have a right to appeal a hospital discharge decision you doubt is right. The law also requires hospitals to tell you how to appeal and to explain the appeal process.    Read more...

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