Chapter 8: Advocating for Discharge

Discharge Plan

From the moment any patient is admitted into a hospital, there is a person dedicated to planning for the discharge.

I had no clue how significant the discharge plan could be to Rick’s recovery. And more importantly, no idea how critical it was to advocate for the right discharge plan.

Ask the medical team:

  • When should I be planning for discharge?
  • What kind of therapy is going to be prescribed?
  • How can we plan for my loved one to meet the requirements for an inpatient rehabilitation hospital instead of a skilled nursing facility?
  • What should I be looking for in terms of therapy offered in an inpatient rehabilitation hospital?
Discharge plan insight:
  • Share with the discharge planner your needs, for example:
    • Talk with a hospice representative in case it becomes an option
    • Ask for a discussion of the details of the discharge plan
  • Regarding rehabilitation, status quo seems to be placing patients in a skilled nursing home first. If this happens, seek a second opinion, because an inpatient rehab hospital has the superior outcome for most people. Advocate for the option that will offer the better quality of life.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask the case manager for the best facility.
    • “I expect your help to find the best possible inpatient rehab hospital. What is your plan?”
  • I found it critical to invest some time in personally visiting inpatient rehab hospitals, rehab facilities and nursing homes before agreeing to placement.
  • If you hear “It can’t be done,” or “You’ll have to do X,” ask “Why?” as many times as necessary if enough information isn’t provided about the plan.