Discharge Planning

Discharge planning often begins on your child's first day in the Hospital. Your child's social worker will evaluate your child's needs and, along with your child's health care team, determine what arrangements should be made in order for your child to have everything he or she needs upon going home from the Hospital.

These needs may include:

  • homecare services
  • medical equipment and/or supplies
  • community resources
  • counseling
  • rehabilitation
  • home school instruction
  • transportation

Since it is often a lengthy process to set up all of the appropriate services and have them approved by your insurance provider or Medicaid, the social worker will begin this process early in your child's stay. The goal is to make the transition from the Hospital to home as effortless as possible.

Your child's physician, in collaboration with other members of the health care team, will decide when it is appropriate to discharge your child from the Hospital. The family is included in this planning process. You will generally be notified the day prior to discharge that your child can go home. A registered nurse works collaboratively with care coordinators, social workers, physicians, and other Hospital departments in planning for discharge and for continued care following discharge.

You will receive a discharge notice and discharge instructions that will include information on managing your child's care at home, home care assistance, safe and effective use of medication and equipment, pain management, overall safety, modified diets, food/drug interactions, and follow-up care. Do not hesitate to ask your child's nurse to explain discharge instructions.

A parent or guardian must be available to take his or her child home. As you make arrangements to leave the Hospital, please note that discharge time is before 10 am.

Going Home Checklist

The following will help you prepare for a smooth transition home for your child.

  • ___ Ask for information about your child's medicines in terms that you can understand.
  • ___ Make sure you understand medication dosing instructions.
  • ___ Ask for information about homecare services your child may need or that have been arranged for your child.
  • ___ Ask your child's physician, nurse, and nutritionist to explain the treatment plan you will follow at home.
  • ___ Ask for a copy of your child's discharge summary, which will list the following:
    • diagnosis and procedures performed
    • discharge instructions for medications, diet, and activity
    • follow-up appointments
  • ___ If your child is an infant or toddler, please remember to bring a safety seat for the car ride home.
  • __ What else should I ask my child's doctor, nurse, or therapist?