A Hospital-Discharge Planning Checklist

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For patients and their caregivers preparing to leave a hospital, nursing home, or other care setting

During your stay, your doctor and the staff will work with you to plan for your discharge. You and your caregiver(s) - family member or friend who may be helping you - are important members of the planning team.

Below is a checklist of important things you and your caregiver(s) should know to prepare for discharge. Use this checklist early and often during your stay. Talk to your doctor and the staff (which could be a discharge planner, social worker, or nurse) about the items on the checklist.

Use the notes column to write down important information (like names and phone numbers). Skip any items that don’t apply to you.

 ACTION ITEMS                                                                                              NOTES

1. What’s Ahead?

  •       Ask where you will get care after discharge. Do you        ________________________
          have options (like home health care)? Be sure you         ________________________
          tell the staff what you prefer.
  •       If a caregiver will be helping you after discharge,             ________________________
          write down their name and phone number.

 2. Your Health

  • Ask the staff about your health condition and what                ________________________
    you can do to help yourself get better.
  • Ask about problems to watch for and what to do                    ________________________
    about them. Write down a name and phone number              ________________________
    to call if you have problems.
  • Use “My Drug List” (scroll down) to write down                         _______________________
    your prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs,
    vitamins, and herbal supplements. Review the list with the staff.  

  • Tell the staff what drugs, vitamins, or supplements you took before 
    you were admitted. Ask if you should still take these after you leave. 
  • Write down a name and phone number to call if you have questions. _______________________

 3.  Recovery and Support

  • Ask if you will need medical equipment (like a walker).    ________________________
  • Who will arrange for this? Write down where to call if      ________________________
    you have questions about equipment. 
  • Ask if you’re ready to do the activities listed below.         ________________________

Circle the ones you need help with and tell the staff. 
• Bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, climbing stairs 
• Cooking, food shopping, house cleaning, paying bills  
• Getting to doctors’ appointments, picking up prescription drugs

  •  Make sure you have support (like a caregiver) in place ________________________
    that can help you.

  •  Ask the staff to show you and your caregiver any           ________________________
    other tasks that require special skills (like changing       ________________________
    a bandage or giving a shot). Then, show them you         ________________________
    can do these tasks. Write down a name and phone
    number to call if you need help.
  •  Ask to speak to a social worker if you’re concerned        ________________________
    about how you and your family are coping with your       ________________________
    illness. Write down information about support groups
    and other resources.
  • Talk to a social worker or your health plan if you            ________________________
    have questions about what your insurance will cover      ________________________
    and how much you will have to pay. Ask about
    possible ways to get help with your costs.
  •  Ask for written discharge instructions (that you can read 
    and understand) and a summary of your current health
    status. Bring this information and your completed “My
    Drug List” to your follow-up appointments.
  • Use “My Appointments” (scroll down) to write down any      ________________________
    appointments and tests you will need in the next
    several weeks.

 4. For the Caregiver

  • Do you have any questions about the items on this        ________________________
    checklist or on the discharge instructions? Write
    them down and discuss them with the staff.
  • Can you give the patient the help he or she needs?       ________________________
  • What tasks do you need help with?                                ________________________
  • Do you need any education or training?                         ________________________
  • Talk to the staff about getting the help you need
    before discharge.
  • Write down a name and phone number to call if 
    you have questions.                                                                 ________________________
  • Get prescriptions and any special diet instructions early,         _______________________
    so you won’t have to make extra trips after discharge.

Now it's time to create and fill out a list with all prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements you take. Review this list with the staff.

MY DRUG LIST                                           Filled out on: ____________________

Be sure to include: 

Drug Name     What it Does        Dose            How to take it          When to take it       Notes


Finally, make and create a list of future appointments.


Be sure to include: 
Appointments & Tests 
Phone number                 

Adapted by Personal Safety Nets® from Medicare® Medicaid® and other sources.