Discharge planning starts as soon as you enter the hospital.

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The pharmacist will review any medicines you have brought into hospital with you, as well as ask you questions about medicines you may have at home.

Where possible, only medicines that have been started while in hospital are supplied at discharge.  Usually a small quantity (three to five days) is given; you will need to arrange ongoing supplies from your GP. 

Before you leave the hospital it is very important that you clearly understand;

  • What new medicines have been started

  • What medicines have been stopped   

  • What medicines have had their dosages or timings changed. 

Get a list of your medicines; make sure it lists everything you are taking. If you're not well enough to do this, ask a friend or relative to help.

Medicines for discharge can take a little while to arrange, and the pharmacy cannot start dispensing them until the doctor has written the discharge prescription. This can be delayed if the doctor has other patients that are requiring review.  Please be patient or make arrangement to call back later to pick up medicines.  

When your discharge medicines have arrived on the ward, one of your healthcare team should run through the dosing directions before you leave.

If you need more information about your medicines or you have previously had difficulty in managing your medicines at home, please ask to speak with one of the hospital pharmacists.  They can often help with:

Where appropriate the pharmacist may need to talk with your community pharmacist, GP or transiting healthcare facility to make sure that your medicine requirements are clearly communicated.

On leaving hospital it is important that you let your GP know about any changes to your medicines. This might include medicines stopped, changed or new medicines started.

Your hospital doctor will commutate this information to your GP using the discharge referral letter.

The discharge referral letter will often be sent to your GP electronically (if you’ve provided your GPs correct details on admission). Some GP practices however do not receive secure electronic communications so you will have to hand them a hard copy of the form at your first follow up appointment after discharge. 

Maintaining and communicating an up-to-date medication list is the best way to avoid any communication problems.