Back to Top Preparing NOW for Going Home - The Ottawa Hospital


Preparing to have surgery is similar to preparing for an important trip.  Sometimes you have a lot of time to plan and sometimes you have to prepare quickly.  Like any type of journey, you will need to make sure you are ready in order to have the best experience possible.

The discharge planning team helps patients in leaving the hospital by working with the patient, family, health care and community resources teams. The discharge planning team works with patients and their loved ones to identify and assess their needs.

This section contains information about early discharge planning opportunities.

Discharge planning starts with you

Preparing NOW For Going HomeSome Discharge Options

Depending on the care needs of the patient, there are a variety of possible options for discharge. Some of these options include:

  • Home with family support
  • Home with private agency supports such as nurses, personal care workers, health-care aides
  • Home with support from community agencies such as Meals on Wheels, seniors support services
  • Home with CCAC (Home Care) support-if eligible
  • Retirement home for short-term convalescence or for a permanent stay

Retirement Homes

Retirement homes are privately owned and operated residences. Each home provides accommodations, meals and recreational activities. The assistance they offer varies and can include help with bathing, supervision of medication and assistance with dressing and physiotherapy. Cost ranges depending on level of care. Assisted Living units and secure units are available in some residences at a greater cost. Check with the individual retirement home to determine what services are available and whether they can meet your care needs.

Applications are made directly to the retirement home. A very small number of these residences have subsidized beds that are administered by the City of Ottawa.

An on-line guide exists to assist in the selection of a retirement home:

  • The Care Guide Source for Seniors

Convalescent and Respite Care in Retirement Homes

Convalescent care is designed to offer a period of recuperation for individuals recently hospitalized who may need additional care to recover their strength, endurance and functioning.

Respite Care offers a period of rest to family caregivers of people living in their own home by allowing the patient to enter a care facility for a short period of time. These services may help individuals remain in their homes as long as possible.

Retirement Homes offer short-term accommodations for convalescence (usually under 1 month stay) and respite care. These homes are privately operated and services vary from home to home such as medication administration, personal care, physiotherapy and assistance to the dining room.  Cost varies depending on level of care. In many facilities the convalescent/respite costs are at a reduced rate for the initial period and will increase after a period of time (usually 1 month).

If you are aware that you will be coming in to hospital for surgery, it can be helpful to tour some of the retirement homes that provide convalescent care before your surgery date to determine which ones you like. This can also help you know what to expect should you go to a retirement home for convalescence upon your discharge.

What exercises could I be doing to prepare for going home?

Usually the stronger and fitter your body is before surgery, the faster the recovery. Speak to your doctor or health-care professional before starting a new exercise program to make sure it’s right for you.

Resources that may help you:

Last updated on: November 2nd, 2023