Discharge from a psychiatric hospital is a critical time for many people. It’s important to be prepared before the patient leaves the hospital to ensure a continuity of care and support. Otherwise, a person could experience a setback or crisis.
Prior to discharge, a patient and their family are in a good position to advocate with the facility for ongoing mental health and community social services. If the patient’s family will assume the role of caregiver, it is crucial for family members to be involved in all discharge discussions with the patient. Family members can be an effective advocate for support and services moving forward.
Working with the hospital’s providers, social workers and/or case managers will design a discharge plan that meets the patient’s needs for transitional support services and continuing mental health care. Coordination of ongoing social services and community support services can also be integrated into a discharge plan.
You may wish to consult a sample Discharge Planning Checklist. Some of the items that should be addressed in a discharge plan include:
- Establishing new relationship with a psychiatrist and scheduling a first appointment. Be sure to ask hospital staff to provide you with prescriptions or medications for the next 30 days.
- Discuss options for participation in the hospital’s outpatient day program where individuals can receive treatment and therapeutic services during the day and may return home each evening.
- Community housing or group home placement if needed.
- Community mental health and social services, including assignment of a case manager and/or social worker.
- Caregiver support services.