alexa Sign Right Here and You’re Good to Go”: A content analysis of audiotaped emergency department discharge instructions.


Research & Reviews: Journal of Nursing and Health Sciences

Author(s): Vashi A, Rhodes KV

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STUDY OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study is to quantitatively and qualitatively assess the quality and content of verbal discharge instructions at 2 emergency departments (EDs).

METHODS: This was a secondary data analysis of 844 ED audiotapes collected during a study of patient-emergency provider communication at 1 urban and 1 suburban ED. ED visits of nonemergency adult female patients were recorded with a digital audiotape. Of 844 recorded ED visits, 477 (57%) audiotapes captured audible discharge instructions suitable for analysis. Audiotapes were double coded for the following discharge content: (1) explanation of illness, (2) expected course, (3) self-care, (4) medication instructions, (5) symptoms prompting return to the ED, (6) time-specified for follow-up visit, (7) follow-up care instructions, (8) opportunities for questions, and (9) patient confirmation of understanding. Analysis included descriptive statistics, χ(2) tests, 2-sample t tests, and logistic regression models.

RESULTS: Four hundred seventy-seven of 871 (55%) patient tapes contained audible discharge instructions. The majority of discharges were conducted by the primary provider (emergency physician or nurse practitioner). Ninety-one percent of discharges included some opportunity to ask questions, although most of these were minimal. Only 22% of providers confirmed patients' understanding of instructions.

CONCLUSION: Verbal ED discharge instructions are often incomplete, and most patients are given only minimal opportunities to ask questions or confirm understanding.

This article was published in Ann Emergency Med and referenced in Research & Reviews: Journal of Nursing and Health Sciences

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