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What did patients think about their experience leaving the hospital?

3 out of 4 patients said they had good planning for discharge from the hospital

Discharge planning involves ensuring that patients will have the help they need at home and that they are ready with information about their health problems and symptoms, including written instructions, before they leave the hospital.

Discharge management involves ensuring that patients are adequately prepared to manage their medication and condition once they leave the hospital.

2/3 of patients felt completely informed
of their condition, treatment and medication before leaving the hospital.

Overall, 40% of patients said they didn’t receive enough information
about what to do if they became worried about their condition and treatment after leaving.

Percentage of patients who felt completely informed versus not completely informed, by age group: Age 18 to 59: 67% completely informed, 33% not completely informed; Age 60 to 79, 63% completely informed, 37% not completely informed; Age 80 and older, 47% completely informed, 53% not completely informed.

Fewer older seniors felt completely informed

Success stories

Patient experience survey results confirmed what many health care providers at Ross Memorial Hospital in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, had suspected: patients felt they did not have enough information when going home.

After learning about the Patient Oriented Discharge Summary (PODS) External link, opens in new window *, — a tool co-developed with patients by University Health Network’s OpenLab to ensure that patients have all necessary instructions in writing — the hospital was quick to get on board.

The implementation team worked with patients, surgeons and hospitals to create a patient-centred process at Ross Memorial.

“We now have a structured discharge so you know that each patient is receiving the same information right at the bedside,” said Steven Lofkrantz, full-time registered practical nurse (RPN) and lead on this change project. “Patients are appreciative of the one-on-one attention and are sent home with written information in 1 envelope containing all the discharge sheets, prescriptions and teaching sheets. We also make sure to fax any prescriptions to their pharmacy before they leave the hospital.”

Despite acknowledging that the discharge process needed to be improved, many providers at Ross Memorial Hospital saw the use of PODS as just another layer of work. However, the more they used it, the more they understood its value.

“We piloted the process with 2 units, but once other departments saw the value of the summary and that it could be adapted, they quickly signed on,” said Anne Overhoff, Ross Memorial Hospital Vice President Patient Care and Chief Nursing Executive.

“Since adopting PODS, our patient experience results have improved by 12 percentage points — from 46% to 58% — in just 2 years.”— Anne Overhoff, RMH Vice President Patient Care and Chief Nursing Executive

* Supported in part by the ARTIC grant.