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Discharge from the hospital


When your child is well enough to leave the hospital, many St. Jude staff members will work together to prepare you and your child for discharge. However, the discharge process begins at admission. The staff will ask questions from the time your child is admitted about medicine and supply refills and about your need for teaching.

Before you leave the hospital, the St. Jude staff wants you to feel confident that you can provide the care your child will need after discharge. Every day during your child’s hospital stay, the health care team and your family must work together to decide which resources the patient and patient caregivers will need after leaving the hospital. Resources may include caregiver training, medical equipment, supplies, medical services, and more. Please share your discharge concerns and needs with your child’s health care team

The discharge process has many steps and some require more time than others do. There is no set length of time it takes to complete the discharge process. The average can vary greatly from a few hours to a full day.

Waiting to leave might cause you to feel frustrated. Please keep in mind that these steps are needed to help you provide the best care for your child after discharge. The staff hopes that learning the steps of the discharge process will better prepare you for the wait times and ease those anxious feelings.

The discharge process does take a while to complete. The staff wants your discharge process to go as smoothly as it can, but sometimes delays occur. When you have to wait, please know that your child’s safety is our greatest concern. We may need to take extra time to be sure we provide the best care for your child during his time at the hospital and after he goes home. When it comes to your child’s health and well-being, it is important for the staff to be thorough in preparing for discharge.

Day of discharge

  • Your child’s doctor will write the discharge orders. Discharge orders let the staff know what needs to be prepared for you to go home. When your child’s medical needs have been met, the doctor will write the discharge orders. The orders include details about medicines and supplies you will need at home. They also give details about:
    • When your child should come back to the hospital for his next visit;
    • Any caregiver training you may need to review before you leave; and
    • Safety information related to your child’s medical condition
  • Your child’s nurse will prepare a discharge sheet. You will take this handout with you. It includes home care guidelines for your child.
  • Your child’s clinical nurse specialist (CNS) will arrange any services your child needs after discharge.
  • The staff will send the discharge orders to the pharmacy. A pharmacist will use the orders to prepare the medicines your child will need while away from the hospital. Some medicines, such as GCSF and intravenous (IV) fluids, take longer to prepare. Your nurse will let you know when the medicines are ready for pickup in the St. Jude Pharmacy (located on the Patient Care Center first floor in front of D and E Clinics). At the time of pickup, the pharmacist will answer any questions you have about the medicine(s).
  • The staff will send the discharge supply order to Central Supply. A supply technician will use the order to gather your take-home supplies when you arrive at the stock room. You can pick up the supplies at the Take Home Supplies stock room on the Patient Care Center plaza level. It is located just north of the revolving door entrance for the Outpatient Parking Garage.
  • The staff will also send the discharge orders to the RN scheduler in your child’s clinic. This nurse will set up a return visit for your child. You will receive an appointment card, which your child’s nurse will review with you.

Time for discharge

The nurse will be able to discharge your child when:

  • The medicines and supplies are ready;
  • The return appointment card has been sent by the RN scheduler
  • At-home services have been arranged, if needed; and
  • The discharge sheet has been prepared and reviewed with you.

Please talk to any member of your child’s health care team if you have questions or concerns about the discharge process.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

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