Discharge planning in the emergency department : a comprehensive approach

Han, Chin-Yen, Barnard, Alan, & Chapman, Helen M. (2009) Discharge planning in the emergency department : a comprehensive approach. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 35(6), pp. 525-527.

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Discharge planning has become increasingly important, with current trends toward shorter hospital stays, increased health care costs, and more community-based health services. Effective discharge planning ensures the safety and ongoing care for patients,1 and it also benefits health care providers and organizations. It results in shorter hospital stays, fewer readmissions, higher access rates to post-hospitalization services, greater patient satisfaction with the discharge, and improved quality of life and continuity of care.[2] and [3]

All acute care patients and their caregivers require some degree of preparation for discharge home—education about their health status, risks, and treatment; help setting health goals and maintaining a good level of self-care; information about community resources; and follow-up appointments and referrals to appropriate community health providers. Inadequate preparation exposes the patient to unnecessary risks of recurrence or complications of the acute complaint, neglect of nonacute comorbidities, mismanagement and side effects of medication, disruption of family and social life, emotional distress, and financial loss.[2], [3] and [4] The result may be re-presentation to the emergency department. It is noteworthy that up to 18% of ED presentations are revisits within 72 hours of the original visit5; many of these are considered preventable.6

It is a primary responsibility of nurses to ensure that patients return to the community adequately prepared and with appropriate support in place. Up to 65% of ED patients are discharged home from the emergency department,7 and the characteristics of the emergency department and its patient population make the provision of a high standard of discharge planning uniquely difficult. In addition, discharge planning is neglected in contemporary emergency nursing—there are no monographs devoted to the subject, and there is little published research. In this article 3 issues are explored: the importance of emergency nurses’ participation in the discharge-planning process, impediments to their participation; and strategies to improve discharge planning in the emergency department.

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7 citations in Scopus
6 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 32108
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Discharge Planning, Emergency Department, Nurses, Discharge Service, Professional Commitment
DOI: 10.1016/j.jen.2009.01.015
ISSN: 0099-1767
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Clinical Nursing - Primary (Preventative) (111002)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Emergency Nurses Association Published by Mosby, Inc.
Deposited On: 06 May 2010 00:54
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2015 06:15

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