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Patient Discharge

A Comprehensive Guide to Your Discharge at St. Vincent’s University Hospital

What is hospital discharge?

Once your hospital care is no longer required, we believe that returning to your home or a community setting is the most conducive environment for your continued recovery. At St. Vincent’s University Hospital, we initiate discharge planning from the moment of your admission to ensure a smooth and well-prepared transition.

During your stay in the hospital, our multidisciplinary team, comprising of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, dietitians, medical social workers, occupational therapists, and other specialists, work together to ensure comprehensive care during your stay.

Planning for your discharge: Next steps

At St. Vincent’s University Hospital, we want to ensure a smooth and well-organised discharge process for you, so that you feel prepared when it is time for you to leave the hospital. Here are some important steps we’ll take together to help you transition from the hospital to your home:

  • Predicted Date of Discharge:
    Your medical team will agree and discuss a predicted date of discharge with you. This date will be regularly reviewed throughout your stay to ensure it aligns with your recovery progress. If any changes occur, your team will discuss them with you, keeping you well-informed about the reasons for any adjustments.
  • Treatment Plan and Follow-Up:
    During your stay, your medical team will discuss your treatment plan with you and arrange any necessary follow-up appointments or treatments. Our goal is to ensure that you continue to receive the care and support you need even after leaving the hospital.
  • Discharge Letter and Prescription:
    Before you leave, we will make sure that your GP receives a detailed discharge letter outlining the care and treatment you received during your hospital stay. Additionally, we will provide you with your prescription for any medications you may need after discharge.
  • Medical Certificate:
    If you require a medical certificate, please inform the staff as soon as possible so that it can be prepared and provided to you on the day of your discharge.
  • Preparing for Departure:
    Please arrange for a family member, friend, or relative to pick you up and take you home before 11:00 on the day of your discharge. Please note that at 07:00 on the morning of your discharge, you will be transferred to the discharge lounge. The Discharge Lounge is an area for patients waiting for transport on their day of discharge. There are nursing staff working in the unit, and we provide meals, drinks, medication & dressings for patients while they wait. This transfer helps free up beds for patients waiting to be admitted.
  • Check Your Belongings:
    Before you leave, ensure that you have all your personal belongings, including house keys, and the appropriate clothing for leaving the hospital, such as shoes, coat, and outdoor clothes.
  • Medication Management:
    If you brought any medications with you, our staff will return them to you. However, please be aware that some medications may have been adjusted during your hospital stay – some may have been added, while others may have been stopped. Our medical team will carefully assess your medications and return them to you if it is safe and appropriate to do so. We will also provide you with a prescription for any new medications you may need after discharge. Along with the prescription, you will receive detailed instructions on how to take the medications and how they should be stored.
  • Confirming Your Belongings:
    Before you leave, please double-check to make sure you have all your belongings with you to avoid any inconvenience.

At St. Vincent’s University Hospital, your well-being is our top priority, and we are committed to providing you with the support and care you need throughout your entire journey – from admission to discharge. It is essential that you are aware of the details of your follow-up care, such as outpatient appointments, public health nurse visits, or home help arrangements. If you have any questions or concerns about your medications or your follow-up care, please don’t hesitate to speak with your nurse on the ward or any member of your medical team. We are here to ensure a successful transition post discharge and continued recovery.

On the day of discharge:

Before leaving the hospital, you may find the acronym HOME helpful as a checklist to make sure you have everything you need:

H – House keys and all personal belongings and valuables.

O – Outdoor clothes, shoes, coat.

M – Medicines: do you have your prescription, directions on how to use them, and any certs you may need.

E – Eleven o’clock – make sure your transport home arrives before then.

On the day you are discharged from the hospital, we ask that you leave your ward by 11 am. If you are unable to go home at that time and are waiting to be collected, the nursing staff will arrange for you to be taken to the Discharge Lounge.

Continuing care:

Your medical team may decide to continue your treatment in your own home with support from local health services or other healthcare organisations. This may include visits from physiotherapy, nurses, blood tests, dressings, and antibiotic treatments. We value your input and believe that involving you and your family or caregiver in designing a personalised care plan is essential for effective recovery.

If you no longer need hospital care, and your recovery needs a little more time, this continuing care may take place in one of the following:

  • Transitional Care Unit (Caritas):
    If you are well enough to leave our hospital but may need additional time to fully recover before going home, your medical team may recommend that you transfer to a unit that provides such care. One such unit is our Transitional Care Unit (TCU), which is managed and run by SVUH staff.
  • Rehabilitation Services:
    Rehabilitation is a treatment designed to facilitate your recovery from injury, illness, or disease to as normal a condition as possible. We may recommend that you have rehabilitation in a specialist rehabilitation unit. We will talk to you about this before you leave the hospital and refer you to the rehabilitation unit within your area.
  • Transfer to your local hospital:
    If you were transferred to St. Vincent’s University Hospital from another acute hospital for specialist treatment, we will aim to discharge you back to your local hospital once your specialist treatment is finished and you are well enough to return there. This transfer will be organised for you.

Returning to your nursing home:

If you were transferred to St. Vincent’s University Hospital from a nursing home for treatment, we will aim to discharge you back to your nursing home once your treatment is finished and you are well enough to return there.

Moving onto a nursing home:

You, your family, and your healthcare team may decide that the best option for you is long-term care within a nursing home. If this is the case, you can get help with moving to a nursing home from our medical social work department and the hospital discharge coordinator.

If you are awaiting a Home Care Package, it may take some time for your package to commence. You may be transferred to a step-down unit while awaiting this to start.

Information leaflets you may find helpful:

After you leave SVUH – General Information (PDF)

After you leave SVUH – Medications (PDF)

Comments, compliments & complaints:

Please talk to hospital staff if you are unhappy about your suggested discharge or transfer date. If you want to provide feedback or complain about how your discharge was handled, please speak to the clinical staff on your ward to see if the problem can be solved before you leave your ward. However, if you feel that you did not receive a satisfactory response to your complaint, then the Patient Advice & Support team can advocate on your behalf. There are a number of ways we can be contacted:

  • You can speak to us at our phone clinic, for details please call: 01 221 4013.
  • You can write to us at Patient Advice & Support, Quality & Patient Safety Department, St Vincent’s University Hospital, Elm Park, Dublin 4.
  • You can email the details of your complaint to patientsupport@svhg.ie.

At St. Vincent’s University Hospital, your well-being is our top priority. We are committed to making your discharge process as smooth and comfortable as possible, ensuring a seamless continuation of your care beyond the hospital walls. We want you to leave our hospital feeling empowered and well-informed about your next steps in your recovery journey. Rest assured that our multidisciplinary team is here to guide you every step of the way. If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our Patient Advice & Support team, who can advocate on your behalf. We value your feedback, and together, we strive for your optimal well-being and successful recovery.