Discharging of patients from health care facility is a complex procedure associated with challenges. Planned discharge of patients is necessary in order to prevent cases of patient re-hospitalization that leads to financial instability of the healthcare systems. Discharges are either minimal or complex where minimal discharges involve discharges patients since they require minimal healthcare. Complex discharges, on the other hand, involve discharging patients who require extensive social healthcare from family members or the general practitioner. The Patient readmission usually results from premature discharges where insufficient or no planning has been done by medical professionals regarding the fitness of the patience about discharge (Simon & Shuman, 2007). The paper below discusses the detailed planned discharge process that a medical professional should adhere to in order to prevent the likelihood of unplanned readmission of the discharged patients. Among the factors that medical professionals should consider including transport, medicine, availability of general practitioner, discharge checklist among others.
Medical professionals first have to consider the medication of the patient before they discharge him or her. Doctors and nurses assess the amount of medicals that are available at their health facility and the possibility of the patient to complete the dosage. In most cases, some medicines are rarely available at the health facility making nurses and doctors direct the patient where to acquire these medications, for example, in local pharmaceuticals. When it comes to this extent, medical professional have to evaluate the ability of the patient in accessing those medications. In addition, medical practitioner evaluates the medication habits of the patients and if, the latter has difficulties in taking those medications, they have to inquire of a general practitioner who assists the patient in adhering to the medications. Alternatively, medical professionals write a letter addressing the patient`s general practitioner requiring him or her to assist the prescribed patient in taking the medications (Shippee, Fetzer & Long, 2012).
Moreover, some patients need medical devices that medical professionals authorize patients to carry them at home. For example, some patients are given breathing boosters for patients with acute asthma and medical professionals have to enlighten the patient on how and when to use them. Doctors and nurses have to satisfy that the patient has understood the mechanisms of using the medical devices before discharging them in order to prevent cases of readmission or even death of that patient. Additionally, the medical practitioner may opt to have taught backs with the patient who involves the medical professional; requiring the patient to repeat the instructions given to him or her. The sole importance of teaching backs is that, the medical practitioner has a better chance of correcting the patient in areas where he or she fails to repeat correctly (Morris & Afifi, 2010).
In addition, medical professionals have to consider the transportation means of the patient. Most patients especially the old, children and those who had suffered mental disorders have high chances of getting lost when discharges without someone to support and direct them to their way home. For these reasons, most medical professionals first inquire of patient’s relative or friend who would come and pick the patient on discharge. Nurses and doctors consider this being the best way of discharging patients since they get an opportunity to explain their expectations from the relatives to the patient (Shippee, Fetzer & Long, 2012). In most cases, they explain to the patient’s relatives on patient preferable diets, where to acquire other medicines, dates of returning to the health facility, dosage among others.
Moreover, medical professionals provide the patient with a discharge checklist which provides an effective means of ensuring there exists a discharge communication between the health facility and patients. Discharge checklist provides a review of the discharge process and the recommendations that the medical professional would require to the patient. It comprises information such as the nature of the patient, the results of the hospitalization, follow-up provisions, date of admission and discharge among others. Follow up provisions include information of how to meet care needs, patient appointment dates and plans for extra services such as home health assistance, skilled nursing and hospice care. For a doctor to establish that, the patient is ready and safe for discharge from a health facility to their homes, he or she consider several aspects beyond medical determinants. The factors include patient functional status and activity level, presence of companion or family support, presence of services in the community to facilitate his recovery among others (Averhart & University of Michigan, 1993).
It is, therefore, evident that, patient discharge is a process that involves discharge planning, medical reconciliation and discharge summary. Medical professionals have to adequately plan in advance on how to discharge the patients purposely to prevent situations of unplanned readmission of patients. Assessing the health of the patient helps nurses and doctors to plan on the suitable discharging date of the patient. In addition, patient follows up after discharge by health professionals have high importance in stabling the commitment that the health facilities have to their clients. Most medical practitioners have to take a patient follow up more seriously as this is the most relaxed phase of discharge planning. Very few health facilities take the initiative of following discharged patients in order to establish whether they fully recovered or not.
Averhart, V. G., & University of Michigan. (1993). Patients’ and nurses’ perceptions of factors related to discharge readiness: A report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements … Master of Science (Medical-Surgical Nursing).
Morris, L. L., & Afifi, M. S. (2010). Tracheostomies: The complete guide. New York: Springer Pub. Co.
Simon, R. I., & Shuman, D. W. (2007). Clinical manual of psychiatry and law. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Pub.
Shippee-Rice, R. V., Fetzer, S. J., & Long, J. V. (2012). Gerioperative nursing care: Principles and practices of surgical care for the older adult. New York: Springer.