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Pediatrics. 2012 Feb;129(2):e562. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-3444. Epub 2012 Jan 30.

Dispensing medications at the hospital upon discharge from an emergency department.


Although most health care services can and should be provided by their medical home, children will be referred or require visits to the emergency department (ED) for emergent clinical conditions or injuries. Continuation of medical care after discharge from an ED is dependent on parents or caregivers' understanding of and compliance with follow-up instructions and on adherence to medication recommendations. ED visits often occur at times when the majority of pharmacies are not open and caregivers are concerned with getting their ill or injured child directly home. Approximately one-third of patients fail to obtain priority medications from a pharmacy after discharge from an ED. The option of judiciously dispensing ED discharge medications from the ED's outpatient pharmacy within the facility is a major convenience that overcomes this obstacle, improving the likelihood of medication adherence. Emergency care encounters should be routinely followed up with primary care provider medical homes to ensure complete and comprehensive care.

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