Feature

March 6, 2018 | Susan Pasley, MS, BSN, RN

Discharge series: summary

As healthcare professionals, we can become desensitized to the dynamic complexities that patients face when managing their personal care after a visit to the emergency department (ED). A barrage of situational circumstances and social determinants of health prevent many patients from adhering to the treatment plan set forth by skilled clinicians. We must realize that discharge is only the beginning of the patient’s journey back to a state of wellness, and actively create processes and procedures that help the patient succeed along the way.

Every patient deserves a high-quality discharge, including excellent education, support and care coordination by the ED staff. The benefits to the patient are obvious, but the benefits to your department are just as important. A successful discharge process can result in increased compliance, reduced recidivism, less ED visits by high-utilizers and reduced risk for adverse patient outcomes.

Any one of these best practices discussed in this series can improve the risk for discharge failures in your ED. However, no one practice or program will address all the complex, changing factors that impact discharge. To mitigate social and medical factors and reduce the risk of recidivism, nonadherence and poor quality of life for your patients, it is imperative to implement a comprehensive program that meets patients where they are and connects with them at multiple touchpoints.

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