Let's say that your mom has been in the hospital for ten days. They have told you that she may need a regimen of rehabilitation or she may have to go to some type of a long term care facility. She will be discharged from the hospital within the next two to four days. What should you expect the hospital personnel to do in the meeting that they have informed you about which will take place prior to your mother's discharge?
A discharge planner is a professional who works for the hospital and bridges the gap between the family, the patient and hospital with regard to the senior citizen's return home or transfer to a long term care facility. If you are in need of special care from a healthcare professional, unique dietary limitations or new medications, they will cover these issues with the family. If your loved one is going to a long term care facility, they will transfer this information to the new facility and in many cases give your family recommendations regarding the appropriate facility to accommodate your mother's long term care needs. In certain situations, your mom may require certain types of medical equipment which can include walkers, wheelchairs, or even supplemental oxygen. Connecting your family with the appropriate organizations that can provide this equipment is one of the roles of the hospital discharge planner. The families should make certain that they are given a full report regarding their loved one's hospital stay and what treatment such as physical therapy that may be necessary to continue your moms progress toward a partial or full recovery. If there are any limitations of any activities such as driving, lifting certain objects, etc., these issues should be fully discussed prior to final discharge from the institution.
If the family is in need of further assistance, the discharge planner may recommend a geriatric care manager to assist in future Lifecare decisions. They can also help the family coordinate communications with physicians, therapists, eldercare attorneys and other service professionals. Remember the discharge planner is an employee of the hospital. It is a service that must be provided by the hospital to the patient and their family