Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Discharge Myth


 It happens in nursing areas all over the world every day - we get assigned a higher-than-usual number of patients but are told "it's okay, two of yours are going home."

Why do we continue to perpetuate the myth that patients who are being discharged are lower in acuity, that they don't require much care?

It's crazy, and totally not true! Contrary to popular and traditional thinking in nursing, discharges are much higher in acuity and nursing need than admissions.

The time of discharge, from any setting, is one of the most critical for patients.  Those moments between when nurses are taking care of patients and they walk out the door to take care of themselves are crucial.  Those moments are the time when patients need their nurse the most.  Never mind that we are sending patients away with the expectation that they hear, understand, and remember important information about their home care and medications, there are now financial penalties when this does not occur.

However, we continue to be told that discharging patients is a no-brainer, that we can throw the information at them and show them the door, that this is not a priority for nurses.

We need to change the way we think about discharging patients, we need to recognize the important role professional nurses play in preparing patients for life after discharge. 

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