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J Hosp Med. 2012 Jul-Aug;7(6):504-7. doi: 10.1002/jhm.1937. Epub 2012 Mar 23.

"Can we just stop and talk?" patients value verbal communication about discharge care plans.

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1
Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-6429, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Studies show that hospitalized patients often do not understand their postdischarge care plan. There are few studies about patients' preferences regarding the content of discharge care plans.

OBJECTIVE:

To identify what patients view as essential elements of a post-hospitalization plan.

DESIGN:

Anonymous written survey distributed on the second day of admission to internal medicine wards.

SETTING:

An academic tertiary care hospital and an academic county hospital in Seattle, Washington.

PATIENTS:

Two hundred English-speaking adult inpatients ≥ 18 years or their proxies.

RESULTS:

The majority of patients (64.5%) surveyed wanted verbal discharge instructions, with only 10.5% requesting written instructions (P < 0.0001). One hundred percent of patients valued the following discharge instructions as essential: "when you need to follow-up with [primary care provider] PCP," "warning signs to call PCP," and "medicines to continue post-hospitalization." One hundred percent of patients wanted "a lot of information about my condition" and "test results," but only 39% wanted "a lot of information about my medications" (P < 0.0001). When asked to choose the most important piece of discharge instruction related to their disease, 67.5% of patients chose "lifestyle changes." One hundred percent of patients thought that personal communication between the inpatient provider and the outpatient primary care provider was "extremely important" or "essential."

CONCLUSION:

Patients uniformly placed high value on: 1) verbal communication about discharge care plans; 2) information about lifestyle changes for improved health; and 3) personal communication between inpatient and outpatient providers.

PMID:
22447649
DOI:
10.1002/jhm.1937
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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