Being discharged: What next?


Will I be able to go home?

Family and friends?

Should I get outside help?  How?

If I can’t go home and have to go to a rehab center, how do I choose one?

Hospitals discharge patients very quickly these days.  Much of the care associated with a hospital stay is now provided after the discharge.  Usually, recovery is in a skilled nursing facility, a senior living and care community, an adult care home or even in your own home with the help of a home care agency.

The discharge planner at the hospital will help you with the process of moving on to the next step in your care.  Medicare requires the discharge planner to find you a “safe and adequate” place to complete your recovery.  For some, that will mean going home with family support or hiring skilled help to assist.  If you can’t go straight home, your options will include places that:

1) can provide the follow up care you need, 2) have a bed available and 3) provide care under your insurance plan (if any).

Medicare’s rules are as follows:

  • Medicare will pay for skilled nursing care after a three-day, overnight admittance/stay in the hospital.
  • Medicare will pay for your recovery and rehabilitation so long as there is continued improvement, up to 100 days. If your condition has reached its plateau, your care team will help you choose the best place to finish your recovery.

If you decide to go home, you’ll probably need help.  Your options are:

ASKING FAMILY & FRIENDS – Many people are willing to help when you’re first out of the hospital, but is there enough help for your entire recovery?

IN-HOME CARE – Hire an agency that provides the appropriate care you need.

ASSISTED LIVING – Many offer short-term care, especially if your needs are light and infrequent.

Recuperating at home doesn’t need to be a daunting concept.  If you consider all the options that are available, your recovery can be fast and easy.