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My loved one is in the hospital, now what do I do?

Situations like this can be overwhelming, with many unanswered questions and thoughts running through your mind of what will I do?

  • How will I handle this situation?
  • Can my loved one come home, and how can I care for them?
  • My loved one will need 24/7 hour care, and I must work during the week.
  • I will not have the time, energy, or skills to provide this care.

This is an unknown area that many families do not understand, nor do they know what is available to them for resources.

The hospitals have social workers and discharge planners, and this is the time to reach out to them. There is also the option of hiring a private outside consultant and case manager to assist with the situation and help develop the plan for the transfer, no matter where the transfer location is.

There are many options, such as private home care services from licensed agencies, and a list can be obtained from the hospital staff.

It is important to remember that discharge planning starts on the day of admission to the hospital. The hospital discharge planners, whoever they are, will be working on various options for transfer when the time comes. Often it is sooner than later and near the weekend, like a Thursday or Friday.

Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, supportive care facilities, rehabilitation facilities, and group homes are some of the names for places where an individual may be transferred after surgery or an illness to gain strength and recover their previous skills to return to the community.

Another reason a hospital patient may be transferred to these various facilities is because of their self-care deficit (meaning unable to care for themselves), do not have a family to help, and/or the money to hire help that is needed.

A patient may no longer be able to drive, shop for necessities like groceries, can no longer cook, do laundry, and other household care needs.

One of the most significant sources for transfer to a nursing home, assisted living, supportive care, or rehabilitation for placement is from the hospital via the discharge planners and perhaps the hospital staff recommendations.

After being transferred, the facility may not be like the “picture” described in the reviews, the brochures, and even some government sites, such as Medicare.org and the link to nursing home compare.

Someone may wish to transfer elsewhere for better care, to be closer to family, or for different rehabilitation needs. Sometimes, you are unhappy with the placement for whatever reason, and a change needs to be made.

One of the best times is when a patient is hospitalized and will be discharged in the near future. A different facility can be selected based on needs, and arrangements with the case manager, social worker, or discharge planner will be developed and processed.

The type of facility placement will all depend on the payment source, such as Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, or private pay. Sometimes there isn’t enough private pay or insurance money to cover the services needed, and an application to Medicaid, the state funding, can be made. It often takes some time, but some facilities will accept a patient based on “Medicaid pending.”


Why does transfer out to another facility occur from the hospital near the weekend? It often has to do with staffing issues at the hospital, and there are open beds at the other facilities.


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