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UF Health Shands Hospital Patient Guide: Being Discharged
It is our goal for your discharge to be a positive experience. We encourage you to let us know of any way we can help you leave the hospital as comfortably as possible.
Preparing for Discharge
Your health-care team should inform you of your discharge the day before. To help in this process:
- Plan to have any prescriptions that need to be filled here at UF Health completed the day before discharge
- Have transportation available by 10 a.m.
- Plan for morning check-out by 10 a.m.
- Alert the unit clerk that you are leaving as you depart
Discharge Transition Unit
Our Discharge Transition Unit team members are dedicated to ensuring that you are comfortable and your personal needs are met while you wait for your trip home. Here are a few tips to make the discharge process run smoothly:
- Be sure you and/or your caregiver have spoken with a discharge planner and that you understand what services you may need after leaving the hospital
- Your physician and nurse will give you discharge instructions and answer any questions you have about managing your treatment and medications once you are home; be sure you understand any instructions you have been given before you leave the hospital
- Make sure you or your caregiver has all necessary paperwork for billing, referrals, prescriptions, etc.
- Verify your discharge date and time with your nurse or doctor
- Have someone available to pick you up
- Check your room, bathroom and bedside table carefully for any personal items
Day of Discharge
On the day of discharge, you may be transferred to the Admission/Discharge/Transition Unit (ADTU).
A nurse or nursing care assistant from the ADTU may meet you at your hospital room to help accommodate and complete your transfer and discharge in the Admissions Discharge Transition Unit. This area is reserved for patients who are going home. You will rest in a bed or reclining chair and a discharge nurse will make sure your medications, meals, needed treatments and discharge instructions are given.
You and your caregiver may feel unprepared for what will happen after your discharge. Make sure your discharge planner provides you with information about local resources, such as agencies that can provide services like transportation, equipment, home care and respite care. If you are confused or unsure about what you need to do, what medications you must take, or if you have to restrict your diet or activities, don’t be afraid to ask and take notes.
We encourage discharge from our inpatient units by 10 a.m. As soon as you are told what day you will be discharged, you should make transportation arrangements. A friend or family member should arrange to arrive at the hospital in time to take you home as soon as you are discharged. If you do not have anyone to provide your transportation, tell your nurse. He or she will contact the appropriate hospital staff member to help you make arrangements.
If You Disagree with Your Discharge
You or a relative can appeal your doctor’s discharge decision. If you are a Medicare patient, be sure you are given “An Important Message from Medicare” from the hospital’s discharge planner or caseworker. This details your rights to remain in the hospital for care and provides information on whom to contact to appeal a discharge decision.
Your Opinion Counts
Soon after your discharge, an independent company may call you on behalf of UF Health to conduct a confidential patient satisfaction survey. Please take the time to speak with the representative and share your opinions about your hospital stay. Your feedback is an important part of our goal of improving the care and services we provide.
Five Things to Know Before You Leave the Hospital
Make sure you have the following information before you leave the hospital:
This is an overview of why you were in the hospital, which health-care professionals saw you, what procedures were done and what medications were prescribed.
This is a listing of what medications you are taking, why, in what dosage and who prescribed them. (You’ll already have this if you use the My Medications form on page 55 to keep track while you’re in the hospital.) But also having a list prepared by the hospital is a good way to double-check the information.
Prescription - Rx
A prescription for any medications you need. Be sure to fill your prescriptions promptly, so you don’t run out of needed medications.
Follow-Up Care Instructions
Make sure you have paperwork that tells you:
- What, if any, dietary restrictions you need to follow and for how long
- What kinds of activities you can and can’t do, and for how long
- How to properly care for any injury or incisions you may have
- What follow-up tests you may need and when you need to schedule them
- What medicines you must take, why, and for how long
- When you need to see your physician
- Any other home-care instructions for your caregiver, such as how to get you in and out of bed, how to use and monitor any equipment, and what signs and symptoms to watch out for
- Telephone numbers to call if you or your caregiver has any questions pertaining to your after-hospital care
Outpatient Services and Community Resources
When you leave the hospital, you may need to spend time in a rehabilitation facility, nursing home or other institution. Or you may need to schedule tests at an imaging center have treatments at a cancer center, or have in-home therapy. Be sure to speak with your nurse or physician to get all the details you need before you leave.