Introduction Effective and efficient co-ordination between healthcare professionals across settings is vital to ensure the continuity and quality of patient care. Particularly in the palliative care population who often have complex and rapidly changing needs. This includes communication of admission information, medication changes, advanced care plans and follow up information. A key method of communication is the discharge letter. Whilst working in Woodlands Hospice, we became aware that there were a notable number of calls including from GP pharmacies, Community Palliative Care Team and GPs to clarify discharge information and I felt there was an opportunity to improve the discharge communication process. This project explored a range of interventions to expedite the flow of discharge information. we focused on the completion and dispatching of letters from the medical team. The aim was to increase the percentage of discharge letters being sent from Woodlands Hospice to community services(GP,CPSCT,etc.), within or at 24 hours of discharge to 100% at 4 months.
Methods Data was analysed from 07/06/21–15/10/21. We compared the time frame in days from a patients’ discharge, to the sent date printed on discharge letters. Prior to any intervention, the percentage of letters meeting the target was 47%. We planned to accomplish the aim through 3 interventions; 1. Making a common ‘Discharge Letter Preparation Table’ Template, 2.‘UP-TO-DATE’ Whiteboard, 3. Changing to an electronic system for discharge letters.
Results After the first and second interventions the percentages of discharge letters meeting the target was 28% and 69% respectively. By the end of the 3rd intervention, this had increased to 78%.
Conclusion There has been a significant improvement in the percentage of discharge letters being sent to community teams within or at 24hrs of discharge, hence improving patient continuity of care. These changes are relevant to and could be replicated across clinical settings.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.