Evaluation of discharge instructions among hospitalized Lebanese patients
Background: Hospital readmissions are considered as the primary indicator of insufficient quality of care and are responsible of increasing annual medical costs by billions of dollars. Different factors tend to reduce readmissions, particularly instructions at discharge.
Objectives: Our study objective was to evaluate discharge instructions given to hospitalized Lebanese patients and associated factors.
Methods: Two hundred patients, aged between 21 and 79 years and admitted to the emergency department, were recruited from a Lebanese university hospital. Discharge instructions were evaluated by a face-to-face interview to fill a questionnaire with the patients immediately after their final contact with the physician or nurse in charge. We mainly focused on medications instructions and created two scores related to “instructions given” and “instructions appropriate” to later conduct bivariate analysis.
Results: We found that discharge instructions were not completely given to all our study population. The degree of appropriateness fluctuated between 25% and 100%. The instructor in charge of giving discharge instructions had its significant influence on medication instructions given (p=0.014). In addition, the instructor and his experience influenced the degree of “appropriate instructions”. In fact, our study showed that despite being capable of giving good medication advice, nurses’ instructions were significantly less effective in comparison with physicians, fellows and residents. However, nurses gave 52% of the instructions, which questions the quality of those instructions.
Conclusions: In conclusion, our observational study showed that in a Lebanese university hospital, patients’ understanding of discharge instructions is poor. Careful attention should be drawn to other hospitals as well and interventions should be considered to improve instructions quality and limit later complications and readmissions. The intervention of clinical pharmacists and their medication-related advice might be crucial in order to improve instructions’ quality.
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