Leaving the hospital sounds simple. But all too often, people find themselves back at the hospital within only a few weeks. With better planning and better communication, many of these return visits can be avoided.

Why it could happen to you?

  • You may not be clear about medicines you should take and when to take them.
  • You may have trouble scheduling needed follow-up appointments or getting to the pharmacy.
  • Your family members may not be able to care for you at home.
  • WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
    • Ask and Ask Again Don’t be afraid to bother doctors, nurses and pharmacists with questions and concerns.
    • Say It Back – Repeat the instructions you get in the hospital back to your doctors and nurses to make sure you understand them.
  • Have a Discharge Plan- Make sure you leave the hospital with a detailed, written plan that includes:
    • A schedule of follow-up appointments.
    • A list of your medical problems. ·
    • Al list of medications, including when to take them and for how long, and any possible side effects.
    • A list of medical equipment you might need, such as a cane or wheelchair. Try to make sure any changes to your home, such as grab bars in the bathroom, have been made or scheduled.
  • Manage Your Medications
    • Many people end up back in the hospital because of medication problems. Doctors need to know all the medications you are taking—prescription, over the counter, and vitamins and supplements—to avoid mix-ups and duplications.
  • Get clear oral and written instructions, and then have a family member or friend help go over your medications and ask questions.
  • Know What To Do If You Don’t Feel Well
    • Know the danger signs for your condition and what you’ll do if your symptoms get worse.
  • Know whom to call during the day, at night and on weekends.

    Sources: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation