Getting discharged from hospital

We begin planning for your discharge early on in your hospital stay. We monitor your progress in hospital and we’ll only discharge you when we’re sure it’s safe and appropriate to send you home.

Your treatment may not be complete when you’re discharged. You may need to continue treatment when you get home. You may also need some home support services or follow up specialist or clinic appointments.

Discharge times

Discharge times can vary between wards and hospitals. We try to discharge patients in the morning, but sometimes it’s not possible. We’ll give you an approximate discharge time to help you arrange transport from the hospital.

Your medications for home

We'll give you information about new prescriptions or changes to your medication including what they are and when you need to take them. Some medications are only available through a hospital pharmacy, so make sure you check before leaving the hospital.

Before you leave

Before you leave hospital, make sure your nurse or doctor gives you:

  • follow up outpatient appointment details
  • medications, scripts and instructions
  • arrangements for community support services.

You should also make sure:

  • you have all your personal belongings
  • you’ve signed claim forms and all your fees are paid
  • you’ve collected any items held for you
  • your forwarding address details are correct
  • you have relevant medical certificates.

After you leave hospital, may need to return for an outpatient clinic. If you need more information, contact your hospital and ask to be connected to the clinic on your appointment card or letter.

If you can’t get to an appointment, please tell us in plenty of time so your appointment can be given to someone else.

Discharge against medical advice

You have the right to leave the hospital before doctors recommend discharge, unless you have an infectious disease.

If you decide to leave hospital against medical advice, you could be putting your health at risk. We’ll ask you to sign a disclaimer form. You can return to hospital if your condition doesn’t improve.

Getting home from hospital

Help to get you home

If you can, ask a family member or friend to take you home from hospital. It’s a good idea to have someone to help you get home safely.

Ambulances don’t usually take people home from hospital and the hospital doesn’t arrange taxis.

It’s up to you to arrange your own way home. You can talk to us if you’re having problems getting home.

Transit Lounge

The Cairns Hospital Transit Lounge is the central hub for patients being discharged. The lounge team will help with your discharge arrangements.

The transit lounge can be reached from the undercover Lake Street access to Cairns Hospital. It’s a designated drop off and pick up zone for patients, families and carers.

  • Monday to Friday 7 am to 7:30 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday 7 am to 3:30 pm

Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme (PTSS)

The Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme helps with travel and accommodation expenses for patients needing to travel to access specialist medical services. You need to get approval before you travel.

Find out if you are eligible

Last updated: December 2022