Discharging a Patient

Considerations and Procedure for discharging a patient

  1. Preparation Before Day of Discharge
  2. Suggest ways to change physical arrangement of home to meet patient's needs.
  3. Provide patient and family with information about community health care resources. Referrals can be made while patient is in hospital.
  4. After determining any barriers to learning and patient's readiness to learn, conduct teaching sessions with patient and family as soon as possible during hospitalization. Pamphlets, books, or videotapes may be given to patient. Patient may also be referred to resources on the Internet.
  5. Communicate patient's and family's response to teaching and proposed discharge plan to other health care team members involved in patient's care.
  6. Day of Discharge
  7. Let patient and family ask questions or discuss issues related to home care. Provide written discharge instructions to patient/family. A final opportunity to demonstrate learned skills may also be helpful.
  8. Check physician's discharge orders for prescriptions, change in treatments, or need for special medical equipment. (Orders should be written as early as possible.) Arrangements should be made for delivery and setup of equipment before the patient arrives home (e.g., hospital bed, oxygen, feeding pump).
  9. Determine whether patient or family has arranged for transportation home.
  10. Offer assistance as patient dresses and packs all personal belongings. Provide privacy.
  11. Check all closets and drawers for belongings. Obtain copy of valuables list signed by patient, and have security or appropriate administrator deliver valuables to patient.
  12. Provide patient with prescriptions or pharmacy-dispensed medications ordered by physician. Offer a final review of any information needed to facilitate safe medication self-administration.
  13. Provide information on any follow-up appointments to the physician's office.
  14. Acquire utility cart to move patient's belongings. Obtain wheelchair for patients unable to ambulate. Patients leaving by ambulance are transported on stretchers.
  15. Assist patient to wheelchair or stretcher using proper body mechanics and transfer techniques. Escort patient to entrance of institution (if indicated) where source of transportation is waiting. Lock wheelchair wheels. Assist patient in transferring into automobile or transport vehicle. Help family place personal belongings in vehicle.
  16. Return to division, and notify admitting or appropriate department of time of discharge. Notify housekeeping of need to clean patient's room.