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What would you do if a parent wanted to discharge their child against medical advice?

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Article

Debono R et al (2013) Reducing harm to children: discharged against medical advice. Nursing Times; 109: 31/32, 20-22

Authors

Rachel Debono is foundation trainee year 1 in paediatrics; Siba Prosad Paul is specialty trainee (year 5) in paediatrics; Paul Anthony Heaton is consultant paediatrician; all at Yeovil District Hospital

 

THIS ARTICLE WILL TELL YOU ABOUT

  • Why parents may choose to discharge their child against medical advice
  • Nurses’ role in reducing harm if parents choose to discharge their children
  • Recommendations for preventing discharge against medical advice

 

YOU WOULD BE LIKELY TO REFERENCE THIS ARTICLE IF YOU WERE RESEARCHING:

This article would be helpful to reference when writing about patient autonomy. It gives a good overview of the importance of respecting patients’ and carers’ decisions.

It could also be helpful if you were writing about child protection issues in healthcare.

IN WHAT SITUATIONS WILL THIS ARTICLE BE USEFUL FOR ME?

This article helps health professionals to see discharge against medical advice from the viewpoint of parents and to consider the issues parents may be faced with.

It gives a good explanation of how to deal with this situation and how to ensure you have done everything you can to help patients whose parents insist on discharging them, including what to document.

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOUR MENTOR/TUTOR

  • How often do parents attempt to discharge their child against medical advice?
  • What would you do if you felt early discharge would place them in danger?
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