When your medical office is ready to discharge a patient to go home, you will need to provide homegoing instructions for follow-up care that they can readily understand and manage. Even at home, sick or recovering patients will rely on your medical expertise for questions or concerns that may arise. Keep the following tips in mind when releasing patients from your medical supervision.
Provide Written Instructions
Typical patient discharge protocols include written instructions and reminders for home care. The instructions should be written clearly in readable handwriting without medical abbreviations or terminology. Some terms may need to be clarified, such as a 4 chamber compression leg sleeve garment from VasoCARE, LLC, which, although commonly used, may not be clear in meaning as a written term without the patient seeing the device and having it explained by a medical staff member. If the patient asks specific questions about the instructions, write short answers on the back of the discharge form or another paper as a reminder at home.
Include a Caregiver or Family Member When Possible
Patients may consent to having a family member or caregiver included in the homegoing instruction briefing or sharing a copy of the written discharge order. Explaining home care to a patient’s loved one or home health aide will increase the likelihood of successful at-home care with less risk of a patient’s forgetfulness or confusion. The relative can be briefed by phone if he or she cannot be available at the time of patient discharge if the patient agrees.
Answer Questions Before the Patient is Discharged
Invite questions or concerns from the patient before final discharge from medical care or treatment. Some patients are intimidated in a medical setting and may feel embarrassed to ask questions. Be friendly and use everyday language to respond to any concerns the person may have.
Explain Contact Information for Questions or Emergencies
After being discharged, patients sometimes remember questions they want to ask, or a condition may change that requires medical guidance. Be sure the patient understands the best phone number to contact you or the medical provider who should be reached in the event of a question or a changing condition. Remind patients that emergency situations require immediate medical help by calling 911.
Clear communication is essential as patients transition from medical supervision to their home environment. Make sure they have the information needed to continue home care with medical equipment or supplies and that they know how to obtain medical help if needed.