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Leaving the hospital to go home

Getting ready to leave

Our top priority is your health and safety. Before you leave, we’ll make sure it’s safe for you to go home and that you have everything you need.
Our goal is for you to leave by 11 a.m. on your last day here. That time may change based on how you’re doing, your care needs, and your lab and test results. As we work to move you to the next phase in your care, we’ll make sure you’re ready and that you have all the skills and resources to help you recover well at home. If it isn’t safe for you to leave by 11 a.m., we’ll give you as much notice as possible.

Plan now for your ride home

You will need to arrange for your ride home.

If someone is giving you a ride and they’re not already at the hospital, make plans for them to come get you. Tell them the day and the estimated time that you’ll be ready to leave.

Our goal is for you to leave by 11 a.m., but the exact time may change based on your test results, care needs, and the arrangements being made by your care team.  

Your care instructions

Before you leave, your nurse will give you written discharge instructions and go over them with you. Listen closely and be sure to ask questions! We’ll make sure you know how to stay safe after you leave the hospital.

Your instructions will include details about:

  • your medicines
  • your diet and activity guidelines
  • the signs and symptoms to look out for as you recover
  • your follow up appointments 
  • any in-home care needs you’ll have. 

If you need to go to a rehabilitation facility or assisted living after you leave, we’ll make sure they have all the details they need about you and your health.  

Your medicines

Your nurse will talk with you about what your medicines are for, how to take them, and their side effects. Before you leave, make sure you’ve made plans to have your prescriptions filled. We’ll talk with you about this. 

Your diet and activity guidelines

When you leave, you may not be back to 100 percent yet. There may be some limits on what you can do and eat when you get home. For example, your provider may put you on a special diet or tell you not to lift anything heavy while you recover. 

The signs and symptoms to look out for as you recover

We’ll go over the signs and symptoms you’ll have to look out for as you get better—such as pain, fever, and bleeding—and teach you what to do if you have any of them.

Your follow-up appointments

In your discharge instructions, you’ll find a list of your scheduled follow-up appointments. If you have any questions or need to make any other appointments you can use our health portal, My Health at Vanderbilt. 

My Health at Vanderbilt is an easy way to make or change appointments, see test results, send messages to your providers, and pay medical bills. If you haven’t already signed up for an account, try to do this before you leave the hospital or when you get home. Let us know if you need any help. 
You can also call us at this number (615) 343-1455

Any in-home care needs you'll have

You may also need special in-home services, like nursing care, infusions, physical therapy, or medical equipment. One of our nursing case managers or social workers will help you make arrangements and can connect you with agencies. Be sure to ask us all your questions. There may be more help available to you than you know. 

Patient Transport

For your safety and convenience, someone from patient transport will help you to your ride or car. We can provide a wheelchair. Or depending on your medical condition, you may be able to walk out on your own. We’ll talk with you about this. 

After you leave

After you leave the hospital, we're still here for you. Reach out any time you need us. We’re never more than a click or phone call away. Call us. Send us a message through your My Health at Vanderbilt Account. We’re here for you whenever you need.