Hospital discharge transportation involves the methods used to transport a patient from the hospital to their home, a rehabilitation center, nursing home or other care facility. How hospitals and patients handle hospital discharge transportation is a key element to the success of overall medical treatment.
It’s an issue that all healthcare providers address. Hospital discharge transportation is seen as part of a comprehensive approach to patient care. That applies whether the patient needs medical transportation home or to another facility.
In some cases, transportation may involve having to fly commercial after surgery. This happens when patients are injured while on business travel or vacation. It also is necessary for those who must fly to get care from a specialist surgeon.
Why Discharge Planning Is Important
Medical professionals put a great deal of focus on discharge planning process because transportation from a care facility is a time when people are vulnerable. Every detail of hospital discharge transportation focuses on patient safety, including medical transportation home.
Also, effective discharge lowers the chance of a patient returning to the hospital because patients and their families are prepared for the transition. That’s why addressing the patient’s traveling requirements is critical.
In situations where flying is involved, hiring a non-emergency medical transport service is often the right move. They provide service that includes making all travel arrangements, including ground transportation, navigating the airport and flight reservations.
They also provide a flight nurse who is certified in aviation physiology and can handle any medical situations that may arise while in the air.
How Discharge Planning Works
When working on discharge planning, medical staff find the best way to provide a smooth transition from one facility to another, or to the patient’s home. Only doctors can authorize discharge from a hospital. However, social workers, case managers or nurses often oversee discharge planning.
According to the National Center on Caregiving (NCC), discharge planning revolves around the following issues.
- Evaluation. Qualified personnel evaluate the patient’s condition.
- Discussion. A patient or her representative discuss discharge with qualified personnel
- Planning. Plan revolves around either going home or to another institution.
- Determining. Qualified personnel determine whether the patient’s caregiver needs training or other support
- Referrals. The medical facility refers the patient to the appropriate support service, such as a home health agency
- Follow up. Discharge planning also involves making arrangements for follow-up appointments or tests for the patient.
Many medical facilities continue to work in this critical area, so it’s important for patients to know their options and the challenges involved with discharge. For example, research reported by the NCC indicates about 40% of patients over the age of 65 had medication errors upon release from the hospital. Also, about 18% of Medicare patients discharged from hospitals are readmitted within 30 days. Those numbers underscore the importance of hospital discharge transportation. For patients who know they have an upcoming hospital stay, all options – including non-emergency medical transportation – should be investigated.