Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hospital Discharge Planning Is Critical for Recovery

Why is hospital discharge planning so important for a successful recovery? The following example is one of many that happen frequently in hospitals.

A patient had parathyroid surgery. The parathyroid gland regulates calcium in the blood. A known side effect of this surgery is hypocalcemia, low calcium level in the blood.

The patient was discharged from the hospital without calcium supplements or instructions on potential complications and symptoms if a low calcium level develops. She returned to the hospital emergency room when her calcium level caused severe hypocalcemia symptoms. She was given excessive daily dosages of calcium and remained in the hospital until her condition stabilized. She was discharged from the hospital. Similar to her first hospital discharge, she was not given instructions on potential side effects. More importantly, her increased daily dosage of calcium was not reduced upon discharge. She went home continuing to take excessive amounts of calcium for many weeks. She returned to the hospital again when the increased calcium levels caused hypercalcemia symptoms which included kidney damage and several of her teeth fell out!

75% of hospital readmissions are preventable. Most of these are drug events which are preventable. Unfortunately, there is a breakdown of communication between medical providers, home health staff, nursing homes, family members and the patient. Medicine reconciliation is critical when you are discharged from the hospital. Typically, when you are admitted to the hospital your prescription drugs will change based on what the hospital uses. It is important for your health safety to reconcile your medications upon discharge to ensure that duplication and adverse side effects do not occur.

No comments:

Post a Comment