Demystifying the hospital discharge process

Last month ACAP North Atlanta hosted a panel of experts for their March program, “My loved one is being discharged from the hospital already? Now what?”. The crowd of caregivers received answers to many questions that helped demystify the hospital discharge process.  Understanding this valuable information can make the hospital discharge process less stressful for caregivers.

 Valuable tips for caregivers regarding the hospital discharge process

  1. Start working on discharge plans for your loved one shortly after admission to the hospital. This gives you some time to start planning for additional care needs.
  2. Always designate a family ‘point person’. This helps with communication and benefits your loved one.
  3. Many times, it is difficult to speak with the doctors who are providing care to your loved one. Show up early (8:00 am) to the hospital to visit, and you will often get ‘lucky’ and be able to speak with the doctor during their early morning rounds.
  4. If discharge to a skilled rehab facility is likely, make sure your loved one is put on ‘in-patient’ status and meets the 3-day hospital stay for Medicare ‘Observation’ status is not the same.
  5. Read Medicare insurance policies carefully before enrollment. Medicare Advantage plans often do not cover many costs involved when patients need greater care. Don’t get surprised by a lack of coverage.
  6. Rehab discharge orders are determined by the hospital therapy team.
  7. COMMUNICATION IS KEY! Stay in touch with your care coordinator and therapy team. Let them know of your plans and concerns. They want to work with you for a smooth discharge, but also must work within the Medicare guidelines.

Home health services or home care services – what’s the difference?

Hurley Elder Care Law care coordinator, Kelsie Scott, LCSW, adds that some patients are discharged home and receive home health services. Home health is a short-term service that helps your loved one transition to home safely and regain independence.

Kelsie says, “Home health care is different than home care. Home health care provides medically necessary and skilled services recommended by a physician to include nursing, speech, physical, occupational therapy, etc. Home care includes unskilled services such as cooking, cleaning, and or companion care is not covered under home health care. We recommend understanding what services are needed to ensure your loved one’s discharge is seamless and safe.”

Hurley Elder Care Law is a proud sponsor of ACAP North Atlanta (Adult Children of Aging Parents) which provides free monthly programs for caregivers. Please join us April 10 for “How to Have Difficult Conversations With Aging Parents” presented by Jenny Buckley, founder of Jenny Buckley Care Matters, LLC.  Jenny is a hospice and palliative care nurse with over 20 years of experience. More information can be found HERE.

Call our office at 404-843-0121 for a complimentary phone consultation with our intake specialist to discuss your elder law needs. Our team are experts at navigating hospital discharge and assisting families figure out how to find, get and pay for long-term care. You are not alone!

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