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Discharge Planning

What does discharge planning mean in healthcare?

Discharge planning is the process of preparing a patient for discharge from a hospital, to either return home or to transfer to a different location, such as a long-term care or rehabilitation facility.  

A discharge planner works with the patient, family, and healthcare team to develop a plan that includes determining what kind of additional care the patient requires, ensuring any necessary follow-up appointments and prescriptions are made, and educating the patient and family on discharge instructions and how to manage recovery outside of the hospital.   

Discharge planning also includes ensuring the patient has a safe place to stay, has transportation to and from future appointments, and has access to all necessary medications and equipment.  

Why is discharge planning important in healthcare?

Discharge planning is an important part of making sure that patients receive the continuity of care they need to recover from illness or injury, or to manage chronic conditions, which can further prevent readmission. The process of discharge planning ensures that patients are well-informed and well-equipped to continue recovery or management of illness or conditions outside of the hospital.