The purpose of this paper is to audit the active discharge (DC) planning process in a general cardiology clinic, by pre-assessing patients’ medical notes and highlighting those suitable for potential DC to the clinic physician.
The cardiology clinical nurse specialist (CNS) identified patients’ for nine- to 12-month return visits one week prior to attendance. The previous consultation letter was accessed and information was documented by the CNS in the medical record. The key performance indicator (KPI) used was patient DCs for each clinic visit. The process was audited at three separate times to reflect recommended action carried out.
The CNS pre-assessment and presence at the clinics significantly increased total DCs during the first period compared to usual care, 11 vs 34 per cent (p<0.0001). During the third audit period, DCs fell (9 per cent) with a reduction in CNS pre-assessed DCs (10 per cent). Recommendations were implemented. The process was continued by clinic administration staff, colour coding all nine- to 12-month returns, resulted in a 19 per cent DC rate in 2012.
CNS pre-assessment and highlighting DC suitability increased the number of patient DCs. As the CNS presence at the clinic reduced so did the rate of DC. Specific personnel need to be responsible for monitoring and reminding staff of the process; this does not always have to be medical or nursing.
Implementing positive discharging procedures is aimed at improving quality, increasing efficiency and accessibility of services for patients. This audit describes a process to promote DC planning from cardiology outpatients.
We thank Dr Vincent Maher, Consultant Cardiologist, Tallaght Hospital, for his statistical assistance and Dr David Mulcahy, Dr Bryan Loo, Dr David Moore, Elma Kirwan, Maria Keane and Mary Doherty for their help.
Ingram, S. and Khan, B. (2014), "Discharge planning in a cardiology out-patient clinic: a clinical audit", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 27 No. 7, pp. 573-580. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJHCQA-12-2012-0126Download as .RIS
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