Advice and information about your child’s discharge and care at home will be given to you by your healthcare team. The information below will also help you start to prepare and know some of what to expect.

Going home – preparing for discharge…

What to expect

Depending on your child’s reason for being in hospital, discharge can be quite quick and simple or for some situations there is lots of planning
needed before a baby or child can go home.

The information below will help you prepare and know what to expect.

You may need to learn new skills or how to use new equipment before you go home. Hospital staff will make sure that you are confident before discharge and fully understand what you need to do and how to raise any concerns or get advice.

If your child is likely to need to take medicines at home after their admission, the doctor will prescribe a few days’ supply and make sure you have them before you go home. They will also make sure you understand how to give them and what to do if you have any concerns. If your child is likely to need further supplies, you may have to order a repeat prescription from your family doctor (GP).

Before your child leaves, their nurse will give you written discharge instructions and go over them with you. Listen closely, take notes and be sure to ask questions.

The instructions you get will include details about:

  • Medicines
  • Diet and activity guidelines
  • Signs and symptoms to look out for as your child recovers
  • Follow-up appointments
  • Any in-home care your child needs

After a hospital stay, you may notice your child acting differently. This is normal. Some children take longer to adjust than others. You nurse should provide you with details of things to watch for as your child recovers. Make sure you ask for contact details of who you should call if you have any concerns once you are home.

Discharge checklist

Before leaving the hospital, make sure you know the answers to the questions below

  • Do you have and understand the discharge papers?
    Make sure you can read and understand them. When you leave the hospital, make sure you know where you put them. In the rush of finally getting to go home, paperwork is easily lost. Once you are home, you will need them for care instructions, referrals, and phone numbers. If you keep a care notebook for your child, you can keep the papers in that.
  • Do you know who to contact if you have questions or concerns after you are home?
    You may still be able to contact the attending physician from the hospital, or the hospital ward.

  • Have follow up appointments been made?
    Make sure any follow up appointments your child needs to attend have been booked before you leave.

  • Has information been shared with your primary care doctor and other important contacts?
    Has information about your child’s hospital stay, follow up care and prescriptions been sent to your child’s primary care doctor? If not, ask the nurse to have the records sent. If your child does not have a primary care doctor, you may need to choose one. If you need help with this, ask if you can see a social worker.

  • Does your child need any prescription medicine or other supplies?
    Make sure that you will be able to get any prescriptions filled when you get home – check the opening hours for your local pharmacy. It can be useful to ask for a short prescription that you can get filled while you are still in the hospital in case there are any delays with your local pharmacy.

  • Do you know the important signs and symptoms to look out for as your child gets better?
    Staff should tell you what to look out for as your child gets better—including such things as pain, fever, and bleeding—and teach you what to do if your child has any of them.
  • Are there special instructions about diet and activity for your child?
    When your child leaves, they may not be back to 100 percent yet. There may be some limits on what they can do and eat when they get home. For example, they may be put on a special diet or to limit activity while they recover.
  • Are there any special instructions for transport home?
    Are there any special instructions about your child’s journey home such as special equipment they might need or help getting home.
    Don’t forget that Bumblance can assist with getting your child home, even for short journeys.

Parent tips

Experienced parents have provided the tips and questions to ask below to help you prepare for your baby or child’s discharge.

  • Write down a list of questions and concerns to have ready as it is easy to forget them.

  • Take notes or ask to record meetings where discharge plans are explained.

  • Do not hesitate to ask questions if you are unsure of anything.

Discharge of a child with complex care needs. Parent tips and questions to ask.

Preparing for discharge if your child has complex medical needs can require additional planning.
Experienced parents provided us with the following tips
to help you know what to expect and how to prepare.

Your child’s nurse will talk with you about what medicines your child needs, what the medicines are for, how to take them, and their possible side effects. Before you leave, make sure you’ve made plans to have your child’s prescriptions filled at the pharmacy you prefer. If you think it will be difficult for you to get your child’s medicines(s), make sure to tell your nurse before you leave.

  • You may receive a prescription for medications for your child when leaving the hospital. This will be explained to you, including the dose of medication, why they need it and how often to give it.
  • Some medications need to be ordered by your community pharmacy – Discuss with your nurse or hospital pharmacist if unsure. Contact will be made with your Public Health Nurse if your child needs care at home.
  • Understand what prescriptions your child needs and make sure they are filled and ready for pick-up from your local pharmacy before discharge.
  • Make sure you get an updated list of medications, correct prescriptions and dosage and instructions.
  • Make sure that you will be able to get any prescriptions filled when you get home – check the opening hours for your local pharmacy. It can be useful to ask for a short prescription that you can get filled while you are still in the hospital in case there are any delays with your local pharmacy.
  • Learn as much as you can while in hospital
  • Build your confidence by spending as much time as possible, including overnights, with “care by parent” under hospital staff guidance at the hospital.
  • Make sure that you have the information, training and confidence to care for your child at home. This may involve using essential equipment, complex feed and daily care routines and managing medications.
    Preparing for discharge can be stressful and overwhelming – make sure to discuss your concerns with your care team and push for additional training, information or supports until you feel ready to go home.
  • Tell your nurse if you may have a problem getting your child home.

Your child may also need special in-home services, like nursing care, infusions, physical therapy, or medical equipment. If this is the case, 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.

Do you have everything you need to take care of your child when you get home? Sometimes the delivery of home care supplies can take a while. If there is anything your child is using in the hospital that he will need at home—for example, suction catheters, oxygen, g-tube supplies—ask the nurse if you can take a small supply of these items home to use until home care supplies arrive.

  • Before discharge make sure you have enough dressings, nutrition and any other supplies you will need for at least one day.
  • You may be provided with the daily supplies you will need before discharge by the Clinical Nurse Specialist, dietician or other member of your child’s care team. If you are concerned about being able to access the supplies you need when you return home, ask your child’s medical team if they can provide you with additional supplies before discharge.
  • Make sure you know who will be responsible for organising your child’s daily supplies in the community. This may be an outreach nurse, public health nurse or other community support or a combination of service providers.
  • You may need special medical grade equipment to care for your child at home such as feed-pumps, nebulisers, suction pump, oxygen etc. Your hospital team will discuss this with you.
  • It is important to have a back-up plan for vital equipment or equipment that is in use 24/7. You should discuss this with your medical team before discharge.
    – You may need to advocate to have a spare for certain pieces of vital equipment.
    – Make sure you have the 24-hour care numbers for vital pieces of equipment.
  • Make sure you feel confident using vital equipment prior to discharge.