Discharge planning provides a critical link between the treatment received by a hospitalized patient and the care provided to the patient after discharge. A patient's discharge is not an instantaneous event; rather it is a process which starts right from the moment a patient gets admitted to the hospital. It is generally accepted that discharge planning should start prior to admission (for planned admissions) or at the time of admission (for unplanned admissions). Medicare defines discharge planning as "A process used to decide what a patient needs for a smooth move from one level of care to another." The discharge plan takes multiple factors into account based on which it is decided whether to send the patient home, a rehabilitation facility or a nursing home. key factors involved are medication, symptom management, diet, activity, sleep, medical follow-up, and the emotional status of patients and their caregivers. Only a physician can authorize a patient's discharge but there many other people involved in the process like the nurse, the patients family members and the discharge planner who may be the patient's primary nurse, a case manager, a dedicated discharge planner, or an inter-disciplinary team. A patient's health prognosis depends significantly on careful discharge planning and good follow-up contact along with decreasing healthcare and social costs.