Discharge Planning: Impact on Quality Health Outcomes

Published: 2022-12-26
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Middlebury College
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During the course, I learned that poor discharge planning can have a negative impact on the quality of health and patient outcomes after the patient is discharged from the hospital. The hospital staff must follow the discharge planning procedures, and guidelines. These are benchmarked or standard operating procedures that have been elevated and found to be aligned with the goals of optimal patient care post discharge (Lin et al., 2012). In most cases where the patient is released without following the proper discharge planning procedures, the patient usually leaves the hospital without any communication between the patient/ relatives and the hospital. Without proper discharge planning, patient records are nonproper kept and in most cases, the patient is not given the records neither were the records kept. Keeping the patient record updated and providing the patient with the records during discharge help in subsequent care planning and medication reconciliation.

Being a multidisciplinary approach to continuity of care and an important care process, the discharge planner or case manager must identify, assess and set goals for the patient then plan, implement, coordinate and evaluate the care provider (Wang, Zhao, and Zang, 2014). The discharge planning is the most important link between the care or treatment that the hospital provided the patient and the post-discharge care that the patient will receive in the community. While information discharge planning is necessary, the formal or structured discharge planning is very important because it can help reduces medication errors, medical errors, length of stay in the hospital, and prevent unnecessary rehospitalization

Role of the case management in discharge planning and within the patient care team?

The role of the case manager is to coordinate the discharge plan and discharge services with the patient as well as the family of the patient and the relevant rehabilitation team. The goal of coordination is to entire that the patient has the right care plan and the services provided post-discharge are appropriate. The case managers must therefore liaise and work with the patient families to educate the patient and his families on the range of options that the patient have within their available benefits. They also facilitate communication between the hospital staff and the community agencies to ensure that the continuity of care is complete. Within the patient care team, the case manager starts working with the patient from the day the patient is admitted to the hospital. The case manager work with the interdisciplinary in care planning and discharge planning. Every patient must have a case manager whose duty is to help the patent and the family understand the long-term needs of the patient and help the patient and loved ones prepare for the needs.

As I conclude, a patient may reach a point that he has to be discharged from the care facility for outpatient treatment or is completely healed and is to be released to go back home. However, discharge planning requires that a proper procedure followed and the patient documentation updated before the patient is handed over or transitioned to the outpatient care providers, rehabilitation center or home. The patient is usually discharged with some prescription medicine to continue taking at home. Discharge planning involves the activities and procedures followed whenever a patient is being released from the care facility to facilitate communication between the hospital and the next facilitate to which the patient is being discharged.


Lin, S., Cheng, S., Shih, S., Chang, W., Chu, C. and Tjung, J. (2013). The Past, Present, and Future of Discharge Planning in Taiwan. International Journal of Gerontology, 7(2), pp.65-69.

Wang, S., Zhao, Y. and Zang, X. (2014). Continuing care for older patients during thetransitional period. Chinese Nursing Research, 1, pp.5-13.

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