When should you be discharged from a hospital?

Being discharged from a hospital is not as straightforward as it may seem. Healthcare providers must consider several factors to ensure they discharge a patient safely. And one of them is when to discharge them.

So, when can you leave the hospital?

When you no longer need to be there to receive care

A hospital can discharge a patient when they no longer need to be in the facility to receive care. This may not mean the patient has fully healed or recovered, but they are stable enough to receive help from home. 

Before leaving the hospital, a healthcare provider should explain the discharge paperwork thoroughly to help you understand everything.

You need to know why you were hospitalized, how you will manage at home, the benefits of the prescribed medications, why some medications were changed if this happened, follow-up appointment instructions, activities to avoid, diet to observe, if you need therapy, who to contact if anything happens and so on.

A reliable healthcare provider will ensure you are adequately informed before leaving the facility.  

Why would a hospital discharge you before fully recovering?

With many people needing hospital care, it can be challenging for healthcare providers to serve everyone – they may not meet the needs of every patient competently. Thus, inpatient care (hospital stay) is typically for people who need a high level of medication attention.  

Therefore, when a patient can continue their treatment from home, they can be discharged despite not being fully healed. In some cases, a hospital can discharge a patient to another facility, for example, to a skilled nursing facility.

If a hospital discharges you prematurely or without providing adequate information, resulting in an injury, you should learn more about your rights and options. 

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