Preparing to Return Home

Discharge Planning

You should start thinking now about what you will need to do to manage when you leave hospital.

Sometimes, your illness means that you have to make changes in the way that you look after yourself. For example, you may require daily dressings, new medications, daily nurse visits, assistance with bathing, or assistance with housework and therapy visits. Hospital staff, together with you, your family and carer will need to be involved in planning how to manage after you leave hospital. This includes your General Practitioner who will play a role in monitoring your recovery.

If you feel you need assistance at home or have special needs, please discuss this with your nurse as soon as possible as referrals to other health professionals may be required.

In order to ensure that your stay in hospital is not prolonged, it is important to plan for your discharge. Within 24 hours of your admission to the general ward you will be allocated an Estimated Date of Discharge. This is based on the average stay for patients with your condition and is a guide only. Please ask the doctor or nurse what your Estimated Date of Discharge is.

The Estimated Date of Discharge will help you and your carers prepare for your discharge. It is important to ensure that you have adequate support when you return home. If you are concerned about whether you can cope at home, please ask the ward nurse to arrange an appointment with the Social Worker or the Discharge Planner.

If you require alternative care arrangements, such as a nursing home or hostel, it will be important for your carers to start enquiries early. The Social Worker and nursing staff will assist you with these enquiries. It is anticipated that patients will find appropriate accommodation within 48 hours after assessment and approval for nursing home or hostel accommodation.


Day of Discharge

On the day you go home you will need to leave the ward by 10am. You will be moved to the Patient Discharge Unit to await your transport home.  The Patient Discharge Unit is located on level one Tower Ward Building.

It is expected that you will organise your own transport home, this may mean a family member needs to pick you up. If this is not possible, please advise the nursing staff as soon as possible so we can organise alternative transport arrangements. If you think you might have any problems that may prevent you from getting home, please let a member of staff know. Remember to take with you any x-rays, medications or valuables before leaving hospital.

If you require a medical certificate for your employer, please ask the treating doctor.


Patient Discharge Unit

At the Patient Discharge Unit you will get:

  • Discharge summary letter.
  • Discharge medication or scripts.
  • Medical Certificate if you requested one.
  • If you are unsure about your discharge, or when you are going home, please speak to your nurse or doctor.
  • Please make sure someone picks you up on time. Delays will lead to the hospital not having enough beds for the next patient.


Discharge Medications

If you have been started with a new medication from hospital, on discharge you will be given a prescription to fill at an outside pharmacy.  It is very important that you understand your medications before leaving hospital.

A full list of your medications can be found on your medical discharge summary letter which should be provided to you before you leave the hospital.

During your hospital stay, medications you took before admission may have changed or ceased and new ones may have been introduced. Your nurse, pharmacist or doctor can help you understand what medicines you need to take once you go home. The ward staff can arrange for a pharmacist to assist you with any medication related questions you may have.

If you are discharged over the weekend, and have not made prior arrangements to obtain the discharge medications, please discuss this with the treating hospital team, otherwise you may need to see a General Practitioner immediately to get a prescription, as the Hospital’s pharmacy is closed on weekends.


General Practitioner

It is recommended that you visit your General Practitioner within three days of being discharged from hospital and show them your medical discharge summary. The hospital will fax your summary to your General Practitioner or Specialists involved in your care unless you specifically advise that this should not happen. If you wish, a copy of your summary can be sent home with you. Please ensure that your General Practitioner’s details are correct.

If you need to locate a General Practitioner working within the St George area  please access the following link:

 This link will redirect you to the Central and  Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network website where you can search for General Practitioners by suburb and special interest e.g. Asthma, Cancer, Disability etc.


Community Care

Your health team may recommend continuing care from community nurses or other health professionals after your discharge and if necessary will give you follow-up outpatient appointments.

Your health care team will advise you of their recommendations and organise any care that is required. A nursing discharge summary will be sent home with you if you are referred onto community nurses.