Recent reports that BC has the second highest re-admission rate after hospitalization of any province in the country comes as no surprise. Patient Pathways, an independent patient navigation and advocacy company, are often called in when crises related to hospital readmissions occur. Discharge Planning is the most important part of hospitalization.
Patients and loved ones can have an important role in preventing premature discharge and readmission to hospital. In our own experience as patient navigator-advocates, pre-mature and unplanned discharges are dangerous and occasionally deadly. As a patient and family you can:
- always have a family or friend present during discharge hopplanning and make sure the patient is never alone, coerced, or pressured into going home without adequate supports and equipment in place;
- ensure that the patient and support person has a discharge summary and recent surgical and lab results to present if readmission to another hospital takes place (hospital computer systems are not connected and an evening or weekend discharge will delay records being obtained);
- ensure that someone is with the patient during transport home and at their home until they are stable;
- notify the family doctor as soon as possible of the discharge for continuity of care;
- if home care is to be put in place, be very squeaky wheels for the case manager intake and implementation of services; and , finally,
- always err on the side of caution and return to the hospital (hopefully the one you were discharged from) earlier rather than later if there are issues and symptoms of concern.
More information can be found on our blog “Discharge Planning from Acute Care to Home or Residential Care”
BC Medical Journal: Unplanned hospital readmissions in British Columbia