Physicians Fall Short in Delivering Post-Discharge Instructions to ED Patients, Research Suggests

A review of emergency department audiotapes suggests ED patients' verbal post-discharge instructions are often inadequate and physicians sometimes fail to confirm patients' understanding of their instructions, according to a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

For their study, researchers analyzed 477 ED audiotapes with recordings of patient-emergency provider communication. These tapes were used to determine the quality of explanation of illness, expected course, self-care, medication instructions, symptoms prompting a return to the ED, follow-up instructions, opportunities for questions and patient confirmation for understanding.


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Their analysis showed although 91 percent of discharges included some opportunity for questions, these opportunities were minimal. Further, only 22 percent of providers confirmed that the patient understood their discharge instructions.

Read the study about post-discharge instructions.

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