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Opinion

Discharge is as important as admission

Effective discharge planning can help in recovery and reduce the chances of readmission.

It is an important aspect of care but is one that can be neglected or rushed with significant consequences for the patient and their family.

Discharge planning is particularly important for those patients with comorbidities whose condition is not necessarily that stable and who need to take a range of different medicines.

Home support can vary tremendously from a patient with a partner at home and nearby relatives and carers to someone living alone with no support network. Or sometimes it can be more complicated,  for example an elderly person who has been in hospital who is going home to be a carer for their frail partner.

Each patient is an individual and their discharge needs will be different. Our latest unit  Discharge planning: getting it right for the patient  looks at how the discharge planning process operates in different situations and to meet different types of patient need.

Effective discharge planning requires careful planning and input from all  members of the multidisciplinary team. Take the opportunity to update your knowledge on this key area of practice. The unit covers simple and complex discharges, factors to consider when patients are transferred to other departments, and what to do when patients and/or their families disagree with the discharge plan.

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