March 15, 2018
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Discharge planning begins the day a patient is admitted to a hospital. The process includes all those involved in the patient’s care – nurses, social workers, care managers, family and the patient (National Center On Caregiving, 2016). The discharge checklist is a comprehensive list of the patients’ needs to transition to the next level of care such as determining who will care for the patient, equipment they might need, and education on their disease process and medications. See a sample checklist here (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, 2016).
Effective discharge planning is important because it decreases the chances a patient will be readmitted to the hospital, helps in recovery, ensures medications are prescribed and given correctly, and adequately prepares the patients and families to take over care. Here’s an example of poor discharge planning I recall from my experience – a 68-year-old with a diagnosis of congestive heart failure was discharged from the hospital with the wrong medications. Each medical professional that worked with the patient assumed her medications were reconciled by the other. The patient was readmitted to the hospital within 24 hours and placed in the ICU on a ventilator due to medication errors. Studies have shown that 40 percent of patients over 65 had medication errors after leaving the hospital and 18 percent of Medicare patients discharged from the hospital are readmitted in 30 days. (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, 2016)
The patient in the example would have benefitted from better discharge planning. An educational video delivered via interactive patient engagement technology could increase the patient’s understanding of the disease process and her medications, such as how Lasix helps control excess fluids around her heart. The patient can understand the value and risk of the medicine and ask better questions when talking with medical professionals. A discharge checklist also gives the patient a place to track questions and conversations increasing the likelihood of a better health outcome.
Education delivery is just one of the many ways SONIFI Health’s interactive patient engagement solutions can innovatively assist managing patients for discharge and assure families that their loved one is receiving the best transition care possible.