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Discharge Planning

Contact the Florida Department of Health

Discharge planning is critical for all hazard preparations. Public health emergency events can leave persons displaced, in need of shelter, food, and support services, either temporarily or long-term. Florida's experience with disasters has shown that a person residing in the community who takes refuge in a temporary setting may be unable to safely return home after the disaster or may need additional support.

A person who takes refuge in a temporary setting may be unable to safely return home after the disaster or may need additional support.Discharge planning is a process that facilitates moving a person from one level of care or health care setting to another, or from a temporary or shelter setting back to the community for more permanent placement. While individual plans will be based on a person's needs and available resources, plans for the process should be ready for activation at any time.

The process begins when a person enters a temporary setting. Staff should make an assessment of needs and identify available resources, community services, and supports. The process continues by linking persons to those resources and following up to ensure that acceptable services and supports are arranged.

Discharge Planning Resources Toolkit 

This toolkit provides resources for local officials, discharge planning teams, special needs shelter consultants, shelter unit leaders, nurses, or others who may be assigned to take the lead for or assist with discharge planning. To ensure the most current and available information, the toolkit provides links to source sites for reports, research, community resources, and agencies that can provide assistance in the discharge process.

Resources outside the Florida Department of Health are provided for information only. Their inclusion does not constitute endorsements by the department. The department is not responsible for content on any linked website. All attempts have been made to link to reliable sources, but sites and URLs are subject to change or have technical malfunctions without warning.

If you have feedback or input on how to improve this toolkit or would like to share/submit additional resources for inclusion in the toolkit, send an email to the below address:

"Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing." - Fla. Stat. sec. 668.6076

To contact us by phone call 850-245-4040


Discharge Planning Guide 

2012 Discharge Planning Resource Guide
Developed in collaboration with other agencies and organizations. Provides information and resources to assist in safely returning persons to their original or other suitable community setting following a stay in temporary shelter or alternate care site. To ensure the most current information on a specific program or agency, refer to the contact information and website links in the document or contact the agency directly.

2012 Discharge Planning Resource Guide Addendum - April 2013

2012 Discharge Planning Resource Guide County Supplement
A county-by-county quick reference guide to agencies. Microsoft word document to allow users to select counties of interest and/or adapt to fit local needs.

Discharge Planning Webinar
The September 11, 2012 Webinar discussed the importance of discharge planning and introduced participants to the 2012 Discharge Planning Resource Guide. Speakers from the Departments of Health, Elder Affairs, and Agency for Health Care Administration described their agency's roles and presented ways the guide can be used to support local disaster preparedness and response activities.

PowerPoint Slides   Audio   Audio Transcript   Questions & Answers

Multiagency Discharge Planning Teams 

Section 381.0303 (e) F.S.
Florida Statute that establishes multiagency special needs shelter discharge planning teams to assist local areas severely impacted by a disaster, provides team duties and responsibilities, and provides for the inclusion of specified state agency representatives.

Partner Agencies 

Department of Elder Affairs
State agency authorized by legislation to convene multiagency special needs shelter discharge teams. Refer to this site for the multiagency team Standard Operating Procedures and Discharge Planning Tool for Rapid Needs Evaluation (Rapid Needs Assessment Form), procedures for completing the form, and other preparedness resources.

Partner Agency Table
A brief summary of agency information and links that might be helpful for discharge planning. Does not represent all agencies, services, or responsibilities. As agencies have additional responsibilities and information may change, it is recommended that links to websites be used to obtain more comprehensive and detailed information.

Community Resources 

Information and Referral and 211 Helplines
Florida Alliance of Information and Referral Services. Click on "Referral Search" or "Helplines" to search for services, or county specific Helplines.

Department of Elder Affairs Consumer Resource Guide
Publication with information to assist elders, their families, caregivers, and others who assist elders find help and needed resources.

Florida's Aging and Disability Resource Centers
Community Resource Directory Locator. Select a county and enter a city name or zip code to search for services by category, key word, or agency name.

Resources for Vulnerable Populations
Thank you to the Florida Assisted Living Association for sharing their summary of agencies and organizations that provide information or assistance. The list can help discharge planners link persons to available information and support services (Rev June 2012).

Other Useful Links and Resources 

Best Practices Manual for Discharge Planning
Publication of the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness, August 2008, identifying best practices in discharge planning from mental health and substance abuse facilities, foster care, jails, prisons, and hospitals.

Department of Elder Affairs Publications
Webpage that provides links to documents about resources, services, and programs for elders. Key publications include a Disaster Preparedness Guide, Summary of Programs and Services (see Section A for Aging Service Network maps), and the Older Floridians Handbook (contains legal and program information and a reference section with referral contact information).

Discharge Planning for the Respiratory Care Patient
American Association of Respiratory Care Clinical Practice Guideline as published in the December 1995 issue of the Respiratory Care Journal.

Discharge Planning Resources for Hospitals and Healthcare Partners
DOH webpage with information to assist facility personnel in planning for patient discharge.

Key Considerations in Planning For Transition/Recovery
See Section 4.3 of the FEMA Guidance on Planning for Integration of Functional Needs Support Services in General Population Shelters. This section provides a discussion and operational tools for closing a shelter and transitioning persons back to the community. November 2010.

Mass Care Sheltering in Florida
Paper by Michael Whitehead, State Mass Care Coordinator describing public sheltering during emergency evacuation. The paper highlights information from the Florida Department of Health, Special Needs Shelter Interagency Committee, Functional Needs Support Services Sub-committee - October, 2012.

Rapid Patient Discharge Tool

Developed by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to assist hospital administrators and emergency managers during unexpected increases in patient volume. The tool is a promising practice on the University of Minnesota, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) website.

Special Needs Shelter Tools and Resources
DOH webpage that provides information and tools for the Special Needs Shelter Program.

Persons with Access and Functional Needs
DOH webpage that serves as a toolkit for community planners who seek to better understand the needs of persons with access and functional needs before, during and after a disaster or incident.

*Note: This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format (PDF).  The free Adobe Reader may be required to view these files.