Questions to ask before your parent leaves the hospital

The discharge procedure at a hospital is an established process.  Sometimes, however, the process is so routinized that patients and their families assume that they have been told everything they need to know.  On the hospital side, they may assume that patients and their families may know more than they do.

Here is a list of ten questions that you may not have thought to ask before taking a loved one home from the hospital:

  1. What post-discharge services are covered by Medicare? Other health insurance?
  2. Will my loved one be safe at home upon discharge or will someone need to be with them 24 hours a day?
  3. What is expected length of time for recovery?
  4. What problems, symptoms or side effects should we be on the lookout for?
  5. What is the expected effect of each medicine prescribed? Side effects?
  6. What action steps should we take if we see problems or medicine side effects?
  7. Who do we call for emergencies or just unexpected problems?
  8. Who do we call if we have questions about medical equipment?
  9. Is the patient likely to need help with dressing or bathing?
  10. Is it likely my loved one will need help with cooking and housework?

Armed with this list of questions you will be able to take care of your loved one with much more confidence.   And, never overlook the availability of professional help to assist you with a recovering loved one.  It will reduce your own stress and that of your recently hospitalized loved one, as well.

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