Evidence-Based Practice: Video-Discharge Instructions in the Pediatric Emergency Department

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While a high quality discharge from a Pediatric Emergency Department helps caregivers feel informed and prepared to care for their sick child at home, poor adherence to discharge instructions leads to unnecessary return visits, negative health outcomes, and decreased patient satisfaction. Nurses at the Inova Loudoun Pediatric ED utilized the Johns Hopkins Model of Evidence Based Practice to answer the following question: Among caregivers who have children discharged from the ED, does the addition of video discharge instructions (VDI) to standard written/verbal discharge instructions (SDI) result in improved knowledge about the child's diagnosis, treatment, illness duration, and when to seek further medical care?


A multidisciplinary team reviewed available evidence and created VDI for three common pediatric diagnoses: gastroenteritis, bronchiolitis, and fever. Knowledge assessments were collected before and after delivery of discharge instructions to caregivers for both the SDI and VDI groups.


Analysis found that the VDI group achieved significantly higher scores on the post test survey (P < .001) than the SDI group, particularly regarding treatment and when to seek further medical care. After integrating the best evidence with clinical expertise and an effective VDI intervention, the team incorporated VDI into the discharge process.

Implications for Practice:

VDI offer nurses an efficient, standardized method of providing enhanced discharge instructions in the ED. Future projects will examine whether VDI are effective for additional diagnoses and among caregivers for whom English is not the primary language.

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