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How Can I Prepare for My Loved One’s Pending Discharge from the Hospital or Skilled Inpatient Rehabilitation Care?

  • Be proactive and ask healthcare professionals about the estimated length of stay that your loved one will be in the hospital or inpatient rehabilitation setting.
  • Begin discussing discharge planning as soon as possible.
  • If discharging home:
  • What tasks will your loved one need assistance with? Is 24-hour care for your loved one recommended?
  • What safety precautions/measures should you be aware of?
  • Will there be any home care, such as a home health nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist or home health aide?  Will home care be paid for by insurance or will some home care be paid out-of-pocket? How will home care be arranged?
  • Who is the informal “care team” for your loved one? If you are the primary caregiver, you will need to identify who is willing and able to help you. It is helpful to assign specific tasks and schedules for others to help.
  • Communicate to the hospital or skilled rehabilitation staff any limitations you may have in providing care, such as your own physical, cognitive or mental health limitations, work obligations, or if you are currently caring for other family members.
  • Be proactive in requesting training in techniques, devices or equipment prior to your loved one coming home.
  • Be clear on dietary needs and medication.
  • Obtain written instructions on important aspects of care.
  • What potential problems should you watch out for?  Who should be contacted if problems arise?
  • Are there any follow-up healthcare appointments?