After Discharge

After Discharge

Our hospital is dedicated to providing caring, compassionate and efficient care for each of our patients and their families.  We hope that your stay at Rutherford Regional meets your expectations, and we wish you a speedy recovery.  Our staff goes the extra mile to ensure your satisfaction with every aspect of your care, from diagnostic testing, to room environment, to food service. 


Within a couple of weeks after you arrive home, you may receive a survey. This survey asks patients about their experiences at Rutherford Regional. If you're asked to participate in a patient satisfaction survey, please give us your feedback.  We hope that you will be candid in your comments as this information helps us to continually improve our services to patients and for us to recognize staff whom were especially helpful.

Leaving the Hospital 

When your physician decides you are well enough to leave the Hospital, a discharge order and a discharge plan will be prepared, with any recommendations for follow-up visits, medications, diet and other aspects concerning your physical and emotional health.

Once all of the details for leaving the Hospital have been finalized, a staff member will take you by wheelchair to the main entrance.  Your family member or friend may meet you at this location to transport you home.

Personal Belongings

Be sure to take all your belongings:  dentures, glasses, hearing aids, etc.  A nurse can suggest what disposable items used during your hospital care can be taken home.  If you have placed valuables in the hospital safe, ask your nurse to arrange for them to be brought to you.

Discharge Instructions

Please make arrangements for someone to take you home if arrangements are not being made to leave by ambulance.  When you are ready to be discharged, your doctor and nurse will give you instructions about post-hospital care. If you have questions about your diet, activities or other matters, please ask at this time. 

Before you leave, be sure you:

  • Know what medicines you are taking, and when and how to take them.
  • Know the possible side effects of medications and what you should do if you have side effects.
  • Know follow-up home care procedures that will need to be done.
  • Know what special equipment (hospital beds, walkers, etc.) will be needed.
  • Know what changes are needed in your diet or what foods you should limit/avoid.
  • Know any special limits on your activity.
  • Know when/if you need to return to your doctor for a follow-up visit.
  • Know if you need someone to care for you after leaving the hospital. This person should be in good health and in your home to help you if you need it.

Discharge follow-up care

Your follow-up care may be at home, temporarily in another facility or permanently in a healthcare facility. This will be determined as to whether you are in good health or someone is living with you who able to take care of you.

Home Health Care. 

If your care at home is complex, a home health agency may be used. This care may include

  • Nurses to help with complicated dressing changes, injections, IV care or therapies.
  • Home health aides to assist you with activities such as bathing, grooming, eating and getting out of bed.
  • Physical therapists for rehab after you hospitalization.

Skilled Nursing Facility or Inpatient Rehabilitation

If you need special therapies and more intensive nursing services than are available in the home setting, a short-term stay in a nursing facility may be recommended. When your established treatment goals are achieved, you will return home. Or, long-term care in nursing facilities may include an extensive or permanent stay.

Rest Home (assisted living)

Assisted living is defined as a special combination of housing, supportive services, personalized assistance, and health care designed to respond to the individual needs of those who need help with activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living. People in this setting can generally take care of themselves (bathe, feed and clothe themselves); but they do need assistance with special diets, medication compliance, etc.


Hospice care is available if you have a terminal illness. Hospice is appropriate if you have decided not to seek more curative treatment and wish to be kept comfortable. Hospice care can be provided in your home or in a hospice facility.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is not the same as hospice care. The goal of palliative care is to relieve the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness - whatever the prognosis. It is appropriate for people of any age and at any point in an illness. It can be delivered along with treatments that are meant to cure you. Palliative care is typically provided by a team that includes palliative care doctors, nurses and social workers. The team works in partnership with your primary doctor.

Doctor's Follow-Up Appointment

After you are discharged, your physician may require a follow-up visit with your primary family physician or a specialist.


Recognize the impact of your lifestyle on your personal health and work with your family physician to eliminate risks. (i.e., reduction of salt in your diet, exercise, stop smoking, control sugar intake) Follow the nutrition/exercise plan that your doctor has ordered for you.

Hospital Bill

It is your responsibility to pay for all services rendered, either through third party payers (insurance company, Medicare, etc.) or being personally responsible for payment of any services not covered by your insurance policies. If you have any questions about your hospital bill, please call 828-286-5543.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Will my bill be sent to me or my insurance company? 
A:  Your hospital bill includes a basic daily charge that covers your room, meals, routine nursing care and services for ancillary care (x-rays, laboratory tests, medications, meals, housekeeping, supplies, operating room and delivery room fees). If you have insurance coverage, the Hospital will bill your insurance company directly for covered services. However, those services not covered by insurance are the patient's responsibility.

Q:  Why am I receiving several bills for my hospital stay?
A:  Your bill from Rutherford Regional will not include professional fees for your primary physician, surgeon and/or other hospital-based physicians. Fees for your personal physician, surgeon, pathologist, radiologist, anesthesiologist and other consultants will be billed separately by those offices.

Please note: You must pay each of these bills directly to the physician or agency indicated on the bill. Please call the number listed on each bill if you have questions or need further information.

Q:  Why is RR asking for money before my procedure or right after my discharge?
A:  Many changes have taken place in the healthcare industry in recent years, and many more are on the way. Some procedures and services that insurance once covered in full may now be partially covered, covered in certain circumstances, or not covered at all.

As a routine practice, when appropriate, RR will attempt to collect all known patient expenses upon the patient's registration. Our initial request for payment will include deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance amounts. However, the amount of all charges may not be known or available at the time of admission or discharge. Therefore, calculated co-insurance amounts are based on estimated charges.

The objective is to provide patients with easy and timely access to information that clearly explains their financial obligation to pay for health services - in most cases, in advance of receiving those services.

If a patient needs help paying their bill, our Financial Counselors can suggest ways of making financial arrangements or applying for public assistance. Within the framework of sound business practice, we will make every effort to help. For more information, contact Business Services at 828-286-5543.

Q:  Where can I go to pay my hospital bill? 
A:   Please pay at hospital cashier in the outpatient service area just inside the outpatient entrance at the rear of the hospital. The hospital depends upon your prompt payment to meet its financial obligations. Cash, money orders, checks, Visa, and MasterCard are accepted. Call 828-286-5543 if you have any questions about your bill.