Whew! I’m out of the hospital finally!

Yeah, the people were great and all that, but now I get to go home…

Now, what did they say about my new meds? I think I’m supposed to check-in for an appointment sometime, too. Two weeks from now? Hmmm…

Once on the road home, it’s easy to make sure you got all your stuff, but not so easy to recall what discharge instructions you were given. With all the “busy-ness” of getting checked out, stuffing all your paperwork in a bag and waiting for your ride, sometimes pieces get dropped.

Some hospitals have discharge planners whose sole responsibility is to make sure you have and understand all you need to know and understand. Some have RNs who also double as discharge people. And let’s be fair, some of the responsibility falls on us. We also need to try and be as sure as we can that we know what we need to know.

If only there was some way to make sure I have everything.

Well, there is.

You can make your own lists before you get there, or while you’re there — or the day before you leave. Or, you can make use of a little booklet that pretty much covers the subject. Your Discharge Planning Checklist organizes your questions and provides space for making your own notes, listing meds, etc.

It even has a section for caregivers who might be in place to help you at home. The entire booklet is less a tome than a quick reference guide, and is only about six pages long — and that includes the cover page.

The section on My Appointments allows you to have that information rather than try to keep track of seven little appointment cards.

Sound like a good idea? I think so, and one of the best points is it’s free!

The Discharge Planning Checklist is available to download at www.medicare.gov. At the site, click the link Forms, Help & Resources, scroll down to Free Medicare publications, and enter Your Discharge Planning Checklist in the search area.

Once you download and print it, you’re ready to roll. And remember to jot down any of your own questions, too. Doing our part goes a long ways.

Information & Assistance

Long Beach: 360-642-3634

or 888-571-6558

Raymond: 360-942-2177

or 888-571-6557

www.o3a.org

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