During your stay in a hospital, your doctor and the staff must work with you to help pave the way to a smooth transition to the next level of care. Your input is an important part of creating a comprehensive plan for what happens to you after you leave the hospital setting and enter rehab or long-term care.
The following questions come from a document called “Your Discharge Planning Checklist” from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. We recommend using this and other checklists in working with the hospital’s staff before discharge.
1) Where will you receive care after discharge?
2) Who will be helping you in the transition from the hospital to long-term care?
3) What is the current status of your health? What can you do to improve it?
3) What potential problems should you be aware of with regards to your health? Is there someone you could call if these problems do arise?
4) Do you need medical equipment (like a walker)?
In addition, we strongly recommend doing the following in preparation for discharge from the hospital:
1) Create “My Drug List” to write down any prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements that you need to take, along with the dosage and other pertinent information.
2) Ask for written discharge instructions and a summary of your current health status. Bring this information, along with your complete “My Drug List” to follow up appointments.
3) Talk to a social worker or a representative from your health plan to determine what your insurance will cover and how much you will have to pay.
4) Talk to an elder law attorney if you do not know how your long-term care will be covered:
Long Term Care Insurance? Not many people have it.
Private Pay? This can cost over $8,000 a month!
Medicare? Does not cover long-term care in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Medicaid? This covers long-term care, but you must take planning steps to qualify based on your assets and income.
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