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Management Workbook

Promoting the Development and Understanding of Management Issues for Pre-Registration Nurses

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Discharge Planning

One of the less rewarding aspects of nursing is having to inform a patient who has just been told by their consultant that they can go home, that the TTOs are still in pharmacy, that their door key has not been brought in by their neighbour, or Meals on Wheels will not be able to visit until next Monday and that the discharge will therefore be delayed.

The Department of Health (2004) believes that up to 80% of discharges are simple and should be carried out by nurses, but ensuring patients get home safely is not always as simple as it appears.

As the Government continues to drive healthcare in the UK towards shorter hospital stay and increased patient choice, the emphasis on discharge planning is increasing. Nurses have to improve and develop their discharge planning skills in order to meet the accelerating demands of simple and complex discharge issues. In order to do this nurses need to understand that discharge planning begins at admission. Nurses also need to have the skills and confidence to anticipate length of stay and predict discharge dates so that requirements can be addressed in a timely manner. Nurses should also be exploring ways of discharging patients at weekends, bank holidays etc, and should recognise the importance of liasing effectively with the MDT and families/carers.

The Management Workbook Discharge Planning Section is also available for download as an Adobe PDF

Policies and Procedures

NMC Proficiencies

Domain: Care Management: Outcome:
3.2, 3.4 (3.2.1, 3.2.2, 3.2.3)
Domain: Care Delivery: Outcome:
2.1, 2.3 (2.2.3, 2.3.3, 2.5.1, 2.7.1)

NB - outcomes in brackets refer to new curriculum (2005) Diploma / BSc outcomes


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