Factors Associated With Delayed Discharge on General Medicine Service at an Academic Medical Center

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Abstract

Lack of collaboration between care teams and patients/families has been associated with delayed discharge from the hospital. In this study, we determine whether patients' awareness of the estimated date of discharge (EDD) was associated with a decrease in delayed discharge, and determine the factors associated with a delayed discharge. A total of 221 patients admitted to the General Medicine service between July and September 2014 were included in the study. Estimated date of discharge was identified within 36 hours of admission. The bedside nurse communicated this EDD to the patient/family. Patients were interviewed to identify whether they were aware of their EDD. Bedside nurses were interviewed to identify barriers to discharge. In our study, 49.8% of the patients had a delayed discharge. Patients who were aware of their EDD were less likely to have a delayed discharge (odds ratio [OR], 0.3 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.1–0.6], p < .001). Patients who were discharged on Saturday or Sunday (OR, 4.8 [95% CI, 1.7–14.6], p < .001) and patients who were waiting for physicians' consult (OR, 4.5 [95% CI, 1.6–14.4], p = .007) were more likely to have a delayed discharge. Early identification of the EDD and communicating it with the care team and the patient/family, mobilizing resources for safe weekend discharges, and creating efficient process for consultations might decrease delayed discharges.

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