Why the rush to discharge my mom from hospital? She just got there!

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  • Bob Parke says:

    It is good practice to begin the assessment process early to aid in the transitions in care planning. It is relatively easy if a person is having an elective surgery as some plans are made for discharge prior to admission such as in the pre-admission clinic.

    However, for medical patients admitted through emergency departments we have to be careful to know the underlying reason a person is admitted to hospital. For example with a patient who is experiencing cognitive and functional decline healthcare providers need to know are they exhibiting signs of dementia or experiencing delirium due to sepsis.

    The risk is that starting a plan too early can put the patient and their family (SDMs) through an upheaval of difficult plans only to be revised when the diagnosis is clear. Certainly quality assessments of the patient’s pre-admission functional, social and level of community support is helpful to diagnosis and to creating the transition plan but a definitive plan cannot be created until the illness trajectory is better known.

    Approached from the perspective of quality assessments discharge planning is not rushed if begun early, but planned well and appropriately. If the transitions in care plan is not known, early planning can give patients and their families the security that they are not alone navigating a complex series of providers to create the best plan for the patient.


Paul Taylor


Paul Taylor is a health journalist and former Patient Navigation Advisor at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where he provided advice and answered questions from patients and their families. Paul will continue to write occasional columns for Healthy Debate.

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