Getting ready to leave the hospital

Getting ready to leave the hospital

When you, a friend or a family member makes a trip to the hospital, the focus is usually on medical treatment rather than what is going to happen when it’s time to go home. Yet planning for the journey home is an important part of a hospital stay that should start when a patient is admitted. Being prepared when it comes time to leave the hospital can help ensure a smooth and safe transition from hospital to home for both the patient and/or caregiver.

Five tips to help prepare you for going home

Get packing

The items people choose to help prepare for leaving hospital are diverse, but there are some essentials that you won’t want to be without: clothing, footwear, and personal care products (such as toothbrush, toothpaste, hair products, and brush or comb, and deodorant). Don’t forget a pen and notepad to jot down questions, and answers and important information when meeting with your discharge team.

Be sure you have transportation home

Whether you’ve had a long or short-term stay in hospital, or a visit to the emergency department, you are responsible for arranging and paying for your own transportation home. If a friend or family member cannot pick up and drive you home, there are other transportation options to choose from. Your health care team can help you decide which options are best suited to your needs. You will need to contact the transportation company directly to arrange to pick you up. It’s a good idea to ask for a quote before you book your trip. For information about transportation options, visit our brochure.

Call on a friend

If possible, arrange for one friend or family member to be your point person on discharge day. Even though there may be several loved ones looking out for you, having one person in charge of helping you to handle your discharge information will streamline the process and make your discharge run smoothly.

Know your discharge plan

Your discharge team will work with you to ensure a plan for your recovery and any support you may require. Before leaving the hospital, you will have a conversation with your discharge team and receive written instructions. These instructions will include information about diet, activity, medications, services and supports you may need. It’s important that you take time to review the instructions and ask questions if there is anything you are unsure of before you leave. It’s helpful to repeat what you have been told, and make sure that anyone who is helping with your transition home understands too. Know who to contact in case you have questions after you arrive home.

Follow up is important

After you leave the hospital, you may have a follow up appointment with a physician or another health care provider. Be sure to note any appointments so that you do not miss them. Have a plan for transportation to and from your appointments. Follow up is an important part of your recovery.


If you’re anticipating a hospital stay, or know someone who is, share this helpful list of tips so they can prepare.