Integrative Literature Review: Ascertaining Discharge Readiness for Pediatrics After Anesthesia

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Purpose:Unplanned hospital readmissions after the administration of general anesthesia for ambulatory procedures may contribute to loss of reimbursement and assessment of financial penalties. Pediatric patients represent a unique anesthetic risk. The purpose of this integrative literature review was to ascertain specific criteria used to evaluate discharge readiness for pediatric patients after anesthesia.Design:This study is an integrative review of literature.Methods:An integrative literature search was conducted and included literature sources dated January 2008 to November 2013. Key words included pediatric, anesthesia, discharge, criteria, standards, assessment, recovery, postoperative, postanesthesia, scale, score, outpatient, and ambulatory.Finding:Eleven literature sources that contributed significantly to the research question were identified. Levels of evidence included three systematic reviews, one randomized controlled trial, three cohort studies, two case series, and two expert opinions.Conclusions and Implications:This integrative literature review revealed evidence-based discharge criteria endorsing home readiness for postanesthesia pediatric patients should incorporate consideration for physiological baselines, professional judgment with regard to infant consciousness, and professional practice standards/guidelines. Additionally, identifying and ensuring discharge to a competent adult was considered imperative. Nurses should be aware that frequently used anesthesia scoring systems originated in the 1970s, and this review was unable to locate current literature examining the reliability and validity of their use in conjunction with modern anesthesia-related health care practices.

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