In this article, we discuss what to expect throughout the hospital discharge process and underline the importance of retaining elders’ dignity as a means of truly providing the best long-term results.

The journey of hospital entry and departure presents its challenges. When you or a cherished family member find yourselves under hospital care, anticipate collaborating closely with a registered nurse (RN), a case manager (CM), and a social worker (SW) to formulate a comprehensive discharge strategy. As integral members of the hospital’s clinical team, they maintain direct communication with you, initiating discussions about your discharge arrangements right from the start.

It’s important to understand that this strategy can change. What you’re told to expect one day may be very different from what you’re told the next. Discharge plans often need to be modified and updated due to new information from the medical team, changing circumstances, and additional tests. As a result, family members can feel confused or even frustrated by these changes.

Although discharge might seem like the ultimate phase in the journey, it truly marks the commencement of an extensive and intricate path. This intricacy often makes the planning of patient discharges remarkably challenging.

Moreover, if sending a patient home isn’t a viable option, what alternatives exist? Generally, seniors lean towards returning home rather than engaging in essential inpatient or acute rehabilitation programs. The fear of losing independence is a prevalent concern among the elderly. There’s often apprehension that undergoing acute or professional rehabilitation might lead to limitations on their independence.

Certain older individuals might advocate for a course of action that doesn’t align with their optimal well-being due to their hopeful outlook on regaining regular functionality post-hospitalization. Despite being in the hospital for just a few days, many elderly individuals experience a decline in their functional capabilities. Yet, they often overlook the fact that this decline could impede their ability to carry out their routine activities. This tendency to overestimate their capabilities is particularly noticeable among seniors with dementia.

Once seniors have spent over a day or two in the hospital, the usual next step in their recovery journey is moving towards skilled or acute rehabilitation. Always following the advice of their doctors is crucial. Neglecting medical guidance is the leading cause of harm among seniors and is also the primary reason for a loss of dignity associated with aging.

However, the experience of being admitted to the hospital is a profoundly distressing ordeal. Anxiety and apprehension seem to infiltrate every aspect of it. Research indicates that the 30 days following a patient’s discharge represent the most critical period, posing substantial risks to both the patient and their family.

We have a free download of the six essential steps to managing hospitalization. If you need more assistance than is offered in this article, you can contact us toll free at 855-456-7972 or visit our website at