Updated: Jul 2, 2019
Ontario has the highest rate of hospital readmissions in Canada. Just over 1 in every 9 patients discharged end up readmitted to hospital within 30 days, pointing to too-early discharges. The most common reasons leading to early discharges are: hospital bed shortage, emergency room overcrowding, and poor quality of care during hospital stays due to staff shortage.
I have advocated for patients who had to be readmitted after a hospital admission, and have realised that a proper discharge plan could have prevented readmission or early discharge in the first place.
Whether you are the patient or a caregiver, I would recommend you participate in Discharge Planning. As the famous quote goes: "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!". Here are some things to think about when planning a discharge:
1. Transport - how will you go home from the hospital?
2. Support - who will help you perform your ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) for the first few days after discharge
3. Do you need a Personal Support Worker (PSW)?
If your doctor determines that it is no longer safe for you to continue living in your own home, a decision will have to be made about which housing facility is appropriate. Here's how you can make that decision.
If you think you are being discharged prematurely, and are concerned about your safety, immediately seek help from the following:
1. A Health Advocate
2. Nursing Unit Manager
3. Patient Relations Office at the hospital
Don’t be shy about letting the authorities know if the situation is urgent, and be clear and honest about your concerns. If you have any questions about planning your discharge, feel free to connect with me or leave a comment.
Healthcare Consultant, in4MED
Planning a patient’s discharge from hospital https://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a2694
Hospital discharge planning https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/hospital-discharge-planning
Planning for your discharge https://sunnybrook.ca/content/?page=discharge-planning
Hospital Overload: https://socialistproject.ca/2019/02/hospital-overload/
The author of this blog post is a Physician with over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare system as a clinician, researcher and educator. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers.
*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.