Leaving the Hospital: What You Should Know

Hospital Discharge

Being discharged from the hospital is often what you look forward to most about your hospital stay. You can finally rest at home without machines beeping constantly and staff waking you for testing and blood draws. However, what you should be aware of is that transitioning from the hospital to home care can be one of the most dangerous times for a patient.

During the transition medications errors can easily occur as you transfer prescriptions from the hospital pharmacy to your regular pharmacy. Follow-up appointments that should be scheduled can be missed, and precautions that should be taken at home can be easily overlooked.

You can be your own best advocate as you make the transition. Before you leave the hospital, make sure that you are educated about:

  • Your current health condition. You should not leave the hospital with questions regarding your current state of health. Make sure that you talk to your doctor about all of your questions and are provided with educational materials about your condition.
  • Your prescription medications. Talk with your doctor about what medications you are being prescribed, what their dosages should be, and what effects you can expect from the drugs (good and bad). You should be aware of what side effects to watch out for and when to call for help, especially what signs are severe enough to schedule an office visit or call 911.
  • Your at-home care and recovery. Ask for written instructions about what steps you should take during your first few days and weeks at home, and when it will be appropriate to return to your normal daily activities and your normal diet (if allowed).
  • Your follow-up care. Ask when you should expect test results and diagnoses that may still be outstanding when you leave the hospital. Schedule your follow-up appointments if possible before you leave or ask and mark on your calendar when you should call to schedule follow-ups.
  • Your continued therapy. Ask about referrals for physical, occupational, or other therapy that you will need to schedule after leaving the hospital.

It is always a good idea to enlist the help of a family member or close friend who can help you keep track of all the instructions you are being given as you are discharged from the hospital. You cannot prevent medical malpractice, but you can take steps toward ensuring a smoother hospital to home transition.

If you have been severely injured due to medication or other medical errors, you will want to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to fully understand your rights and pursue a legal case if necessary.

This blog post was submitted on behalf of Kline & Specter, PC. At Kline & Specter, our experienced medical malpractice attorneys are committed to helping victims of medical malpractice recover the compensation they deserve when they have suffered injuries at the hands of the medical professionals they trusted. Five of our attorneys are accomplished physicians, and we have recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our injured clients. We can help you seek justice for your injuries.