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Preparing for Your Hospital Discharge

Preparing to be discharged from an inpatient hospital stay can cause feelings of both anticipation and anxiety for both you and your family. Knowing what to expect and the right questions to ask prior to your discharge can help to ensure you have all the information you need to have a successful transition from hospital to home.  More importantly, it can help to prevent the risk of readmission. These are some ways you can prepare for your discharge:

Throughout Your Stay

  • Throughout your hospital stay, communicate with your doctor, discharge planner, social worker, or nurse about your hospitalization and what you may need upon discharge.
  • Ask to speak to a social worker if you have any concerns about health insurance, finances, availability of a caregiver, psychosocial issues, or are in need of resources or support.

Contact Information

  • Obtain contact information for those involved in your discharge, your follow-up and whom to call if you have questions. These may include your primary care physician, specialty physicians, discharge planner, social worker, case manager, care coordinator, home care agency, home equipment agency, or caregiver. 


  • Ask for an estimated time of your discharge to properly arrange your transportation. Be sure to notify your caregiver.


  • Review the list of medications you were taking prior to admission and medications prescribed for discharge. This includes drugs, vitamins and supplements. Verify which medications will be continued and discontinued. For continued medications, verify dosages, frequency, and times and route of administration. Verify when your last medication was given and when it will be due again.


  • Verify with hospital staff whether follow-up appointments have been arranged or if you will need to schedule these appointments with your primary care physician and/or any specialists.
  • Notify your primary physician’s office of your discharge.
  • Obtain a copy of your discharge paperwork and verify that it will be sent to your primary physician’s office.
  • Review the signs, symptoms and reasons for returning to the emergency room or provider. 

Diet and Activity

  • Review your dietary restrictions and/or activity limitations.
  • Review procedures to manage dressings, drains or equipment that will be needed at home and whom to call if you have questions. 

Other Concerns

  • Be prepared with additional questions that may not be addressed in the discharge discussion.
  • Visit the Medicare website at www.medicare.gov to learn more about discharge planning and to obtain free downloadable materials.