Case Management

Mentor moment: Discharge planning and quality improvement

Case Management Weekly, October 3, 2012

Case managers should evaluate the discharge planning process in conjunction with the facility’s quality improvement team. The quality improvement team’s standard process should provide a foundation for the discharge planning team. Identifying work flow processes that require improvement is a possible topic for this process. 

Use the six steps in the discharge planning process as a guide. For example, the first step is screening and casefinding. Review a set number of patients’ records from the medical service to identify how soon after admission patients are being identified as being at risk for an adverse health outcome. In other words, how soon is the need for a discharge planning evaluation known? This will show if you are identifying patients early enough during the hospital stay to be able to formulate a plan for discharge. From that data, you can compare the length of stay for patients who were identified early in the hospital stay to those who were identified later. 

The sixth step, plan implementation, offers another example. Discharge planners can look at the time of referral and acceptance of the referral and compare it to the actual date of discharge. This helps determine whether a delay in discharge occurred because the plan wasn’t implemented in a timely manner. 

Editor’s note: This article is adapted from Discharge Planning Guide: Tools for Compliance, Third Edition published by HCPro, Inc.

Most Popular