- Cancer Information
- Cancer treatment
- Recovery after surgery
- Leaving hospital (discharge)
Leaving hospital (discharge)
If you have day surgery, you will be discharged from hospital after you leave the recovery room. It’s important to arrange ahead of time for someone to take you home after surgery. The nurses will contact this person to tell them when you’ll be ready to leave. If you live alone, you will need to organise another adult to stay with you the first night you are home, or arrange to stay with family or friends.
If you have surgery as an inpatient, you will be discharged when the medical team thinks you are healthy enough to leave. Some people stay in hospital for a day or two, but others stay for longer – in some cases several weeks or, rarely, months.
Along with discharge papers, the medical team may give you:
- scan and test results
- instructions about recovering at home
- guidelines about when to contact your doctor
- the date for your follow-up appointment with your surgeon
- a medical certificate for your employer
- insurance forms, bills or receipts
- a list of any medicines/prescriptions, or a small supply of medicines (such as pain relief)
- referrals to support services such as a dietitian or social worker.
If you want specific paperwork (e.g. a letter for your employer) and it isn’t offered, you can request it from the doctor, nurses, receptionist or social worker. You may want to make a copy of your paperwork for your records or to show your GP (although in most cases, a copy will be automatically sent to your GP).
Most people go home after discharge, but some go to an inpatient rehabilitation centre to help them get safely back on their feet before going home. Learn more about rehabilitation.
|Your medical team will give you information so you can continue to recover safely at home. Here is a list of questions you can ask before you leave hospital.|
Prof Andrew Spillane, Surgical Oncologist, Melanoma Institute of Australia, and Professor of Surgical Oncology, The University of Sydney Northern Clinical School, NSW; Lynne Hendrick, Consumer; Judy Holland, Physiotherapist, Calvary Mater Newcastle, NSW; Kara Hutchinson, Cancer Nurse Coordinator, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, VIC; A/Prof Declan Murphy, Urologist and Director of Genitourinary Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Prof Stephan Schug, Director of Pain Medicine, Royal Perth Hospital, and Chair of Anaesthesiology and Pain Medicine, The University of Western Australia Medical School, WA; Dr Emma Secomb, Specialist Surgeon, Hinterland Surgical Centre, QLD. We would like to thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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