Before You Leave the Hospital

A successful recovery after your stay starts with a solid plan before you leave.

Checklist for Discharge

Make sure you have the following information before you leave the hospital:

  1. Discharge summary. This includes why you were in the hospital, who cared for you, your procedures and medicines.
  2. Medicine list. This includes all your new and former prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and supplements. Ask if there are any medicines you can stop taking or that are not good to take together. Also make sure you know why, how and when to take each one.
  3. Prescriptions. Check that your pharmacy has your new prescriptions and that you have a plan to get them filled.
  4. Local resources. Ask your case management team for help finding local after-discharge services.
  5. After-hospital services. Know how much support you’ll need in these areas:
    • Personal care: bathing, eating, dressing, toileting
    • Home care: cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping
    • Healthcare: taking your medicines, doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, wound care, injections, medical equipment
  6. Follow-up care instructions. Beyond medicine, this can include:
    • Foods or activities to avoid
    • Tests or appointments
    • How to care for incisions or use equipment
    • Warning signs to watch for
    • Daily living adjustments (like how to get into bed)
    • Who to call with questions
Try the teach-back method. Repeat back what you hear the case manager/ discharge planner say to make sure you understand the details correctly.