April 2018
Discharge Instructions
Critical Care, Emergency Medicine, Surgery, Nurse, Physician 

​​Key Facts about Discharge Instructions

Discharge instructions provide important medical information to help you manage your care when you leave the hospital. If you do not understand what you need to do at home, it could affect your health and could result in readmission to the hospital.

Ask the staff to review these instructions before you leave, and ask questions about anything that you do not understand. Ask for written instructions in your preferred language.

Hospitals should provide written instructions covering at least these five topics:

  • What activity you can do at home
  • Your diet
  • Follow-up appointment
  • Discharge medications
  • What to do if symptoms return or worsen

Having an accurate medication list at the time of discharge is very important. Do not leave the hospital if you are unclear about your medications. You should know:

  • If you should continue the medications that you were taking before coming to the hospital
  • If there are new medications, what they’re for, how to take them, and any side effects

ASK ME 3© from the National Patient Safety Forum (NPSF) 

The NPSF encourages patients to Ask Me 3©. If you know the answers to these three questions, you will be better able to manage your care at home. The questions are:

  1. What is my main problem (Why was I in the hospital?)
  2. What do I need to do? (How do I manage at home, and what should I do if I run into problems?)
  3. Why is it important for me to do this?