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To make sure you’ll have the care you need when you leave, here’s what you need to do NOW while you’re staying in the hospital.

  • Think about what you will need at home and whether anyone at home can take care of your needs. You may need help with:
    • TRANSPORTATION – How will you get home from the hospital? How will you get to your doctors’ appointments and other activities once you are home?
    • ACTIVITIES – Will you have to change your daily activities when you get home?
    • STEPS – Are there stairs going up to your home or to get to the bathroom?
    • MEDICATION – Do you have the information you need about your medications?
    • ERRANDS – How will you pick up prescription drugs and groceries?
    • FOOD – Can you prepare meals? Do you have food? Will your diet change?
    • PERSONAL CARE – Will you need help showering, in the bathroom, or eating?
    • HOUSEHOLD CHORES – Will you need help with cooking, cleaning or laundry?
    • EQUIPMENT – Will you need a commode or shower chair?
  • A Hospital Discharge Planner, Case Manager or Social Worker is available to help you plan for care when you are leaving the hospital. This person can help you arrange for services for which you may be eligible.
  • Find out from your doctor when you are likely to leave the hospital so you can plan for what will happen when you leave. Your Hospital Doctor is the leader of the Hospital Health Care Team.
  • Your Social Worker / Discharge Planner / Case Manager will work with you or your representative to develop a plan of care. If you can, involve family or friends in making decisions and arrangements. A discharge instruction sheet will be given to you at the time of discharge from the hospital.
  • If you have questions or concerns about your discharge tell your doctor, or Discharge Planner / Social Worker / Case Manager as soon as possible. If you disagree with your discharge, contact your insurance company or the number provided to you by the hospital. Every type of insurance has an appeal process. Appeal rights vary based on the type of insurance you have. Talk to the Social Worker / Discharge Planner / Case Manager to understand these appeal rights, and look at the information on this sheet.
  • If you’re sent somewhere besides your home when you leave the hospital, tell the important people in your life so they can reach you. IF YOU HAVE PROBLEMS AT THE HOSPITAL OR WITH YOUR DISCHARGE PLAN, a Patient Advocate can investigate complaints – ask your hospital.

Community Services You May Be Eligible For:

If Your Needs Are Not Being Met And You Want To Appeal Your Discharge, Follow These Guidelines:

If you have MEDICARE (With or without Medi-Cal or other coverage):

  • Insist on a written notice.
  • Call Lumetra at 1-800-841-1602.
  • Call HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program) at 1-415-861-4444.
  • You may have the right to an expedited appeal.
  • For more information call 1-800-Medicare or visit

If you have MEDI-CAL, but NOT Medicare:

  • Call Bay Area Legal Aid at 1-415-982-1300.
  • For automated information you may call the California Department of Social Services at 1-800-952-5253.

If you have PRIVATE INSURANCE, but NOT Medicare, call your insurance company or HMO to find out about its rules and what you can do.

(Above “Preparing To Leave The Hospital” section prepared by Planning for Elders Healthcare Action Team, San Francisco Ombudsman Office, HICAP and the Hospital Council of Northern California)

When You Leave the Hospital

Your doctor will complete your discharge order on your chart. Either your doctor or your nurse will discuss your release with you. Be sure to gather all personal belongings and ask your nurse for help if you need assistance with packing. When you go to the cashier’s office to settle your account, be sure to reclaim any valuables you have stored in the hospital safe. The recommended time for discharge is at or before 11 a.m.

Going home is a happy time for you, so remember:

  • Have you checked in the closet, bedside furniture and bathroom for personal items?
  • Do you need to withdraw personal items deposited for you in the hospital safe?
  • Have you received prescriptions from your physician and do you understand the instructions concerning your medication and / or diet, as well as follow-up appointments with your physician?
  • Have you discussed any problems or concerns with your nurse?

Your Ride Home

A capable adult needs to be available to provide transportation to your home.

Continuing Your Care

If you need assistance at home after your hospitalization, Chinese Hospital discharge planners can provide you with information about home health care, medical equipment, transportation, Meals-On-Wheels and other community resources. They can assist you with answers regarding Medicare, Medi-Cal, Social Security, State Disability and Workers’ Compensation.

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