Discharge Planning

Discharge planning  represents a concrete proposal for the care of clients after they have received services. This type of planning assumes that clients do not automatically move from the need for services to complete self-sufficiency. And it recognizes the existence of a continuum of care for clients as their need for services changes. Clients still need care, and in most instances they need different care. The discharge plan also addresses the ways that clients may re-enter a different environment, whether it be from residential care to community care, from vocational support to full employment, from homelessness to transitional or secure housing, from being incarcerated to being on probation, or from being hospitalized to returning home.

In many situations, the case manager is also the discharge planner; however, in some agencies there is a designated discharge planner who is not involved with the care of the client. Discharge planning is a complex process. It involves knowing how human services and health systems work, having strong relationships with the community and agencies, establishing rapport quickly, working with the client’s families and friends, and prioritizing the most important aspects of a transition care plan. The roles in discharge planning include planning, recordkeeping, documentation, counseling, conflict resolution, brokering, and advocacy.

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