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Questions to ask before discharge

bulletWhat are the medications?  When should they be taken?  For what are the medications prescribed?  What are the potential side-effects?   Can he take over the counter medications (such as vitamins or Tylenol) with these prescriptions?  
bulletWhat special nursing treatments are needed?  How do we handle bowel and bladder function?  What do I do if there is a seizure?  What is the daily care for the various tubes?  What if he develops a swollen limb?  (This may indicate a thrombosis)  If a feeding tube is used, make sure you are familiar with all of its parts and functions.  Ask about turning the patient in bed if necessary.
bulletWhat special equipment is needed?  Be sure to check with therapists prior to making any purchases.  Them may not be necessary by the time of discharge.  Ask what type of bed is needed.  Are rails necessary?  Should a special mattress be used?   How are casts and splints to be worn and when?  Make sure you are trained in transfers of all sorts as well (bed to wheelchair, car, toilet or commode, tub, etc.)
bulletHow do I use all this equipment?  Be sure you know how to use the wheelchair, adjust a tub bench or walker, or adjust splints or slings.
bulletWhat type of home modifications are needed?  Ask the team before considering expensive additions or modifications to your home.
bulletWhat therapy do I need at home?  What types of cognitive rehabilitation should be done at home?
bulletWhat therapy and education services should the school system provide to my child?  Public Law 94-142: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  can answer many of your questions. 
bulletWhat transportation is available?  Are there appropriate transportation services available in your community?  How do you qualify?  How do you contact them?
bulletWhat relief can I get?  Who will help me with the care of my loved one?  How can I get out to shop, go to church, visit friends or take a break?  Can we ever take a vacation again?  Is a respite program available?  What happens if I get ill?
bulletWhat type of medical problem does he have?  What kinds might develop?  What are the signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection, pneumonia, or seizures?
bulletWhat is the daily routine?  How is he going to sleep at night?  How do we handle free time?  What if he does not want to participate in therapy? 
bulletHow do I handle safety issues?  How do I keep him away from stairs, knives, car keys?  What if he gets depressed or suicidal?  What if he gets abusive to me or the children?  How do we handle severe emotional outbursts? 
bulletMany questions can be answered by means of either a home pass or home evaluation by a therapist.  During a home pass, the patient is often allowed to visit his home under family supervision for part of a day.  During this time, the patient should be encouraged to attempt many activities of daily living including toileting, preparing a light snack, leisure activities, etc. to gain a better appreciation of how each will go after discharge.  Training will be necessary from all therapists before a family attempts a home pass to ensure proper techniques are used when providing supervision or assistance.  A home evaluation, by contrast, has a therapist visit the home (usually with the patient) to check for structural changes that may be needed, provide tips for accessibility, or to view the patient in his natural surroundings.