Hospital stays are stressful for families and caregivers – especially when the patient is a spouse or parent.
As a family member, you are concerned about your loved one’s condition, often anxious about the treatment and unsure about what the future might hold. Planning for discharge is likely the last thing on your mind.
In 2014, Oklahoma’s CARE Act (Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable Act) was passed.
The CARE Act recognizes that families are a vital part of discharge planning and help ensure that the patient follows through with all physician orders.
As a result of the CARE Act:
• The family caregiver should be named and recognized by the hospital when a loved one is admitted.
• The hospital is required to notify the caregiver regarding when their loved one is to be discharged and whether they will be discharged to return home or to another care facility.
• The hospital is responsible for consulting with and training the caregiver for any medical tasks they may need to continue at home, such as medication management, injections, wound care and transfers.
At The Time Of Admission:
• Be sure that you or another designated person is listed as your loved one’s caregiver and that the hospital has the caregiver’s phone number.
• Present a current, signed HIPAA release to the hospital if one is not already on file. This will allow you to communicate with doctors and be in the loop regarding your loved one’s condition and treatment decisions.
• If there is a durable power of attorney for healthcare or an advance directive in place, bring those documents and make sure they are noted in hospital records.
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• Hospitalizations and Planning for Discharge www.
• Be sure the hospital has your loved one’s complete list of medications and supplements, as well as the name of the primary care physician and preferred pharmacy.
During The Hospitalization • Introduce yourself to doctors and nurses.
Keep a list of all who are involved in the care of your loved one and the role they play in caring.
• Keep a notebook of all interactions and instructions given, as well as who gave them.
• Ask to meet your loved one’s discharge planner. Make sure that you are kept in the circle of communication regarding health decisions and post-hospitalization plans.
• Ask when your loved one will be discharged and where they will go. If they aren’t able to return home, make necessary decisions regarding which care facility to use.
Prior To Discharge
• Ask for written discharge instructions (that you can read and understand) and a summary of current health status.
Bring this information and complete drug list to any follow-up appointments.
Ask about potential problems and symptoms to watch for after discharge. Write down the name and phone number of who to call if problems arise or you have questions.
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