Specific Information to Gather for the Discharge Process

The discharge planning process is an integral part of the patient’s entire ED visit. In order to complete the discharge planning process, a clear and comprehensive discharge summary needs to be developed. While the discharge summary itself should focus on psychosocial needs, the information that needs to be gathered includes topics such as

  • ? Where will the patient live after their discharge?
  • ? How will the patient be returning home?
  • ? If someone can pick up the patient, what is their contact information?
  • ? If the patient is using public transportation, do they have the proper fare or transportation ticket?
  • ? Is the patient living in a shelter? If so, what are the hours they can return to the shelter?
  • ? If applicable to the presentation, where is the patient getting their food and clothing?

In addition to these seemingly basic questions, the team must also know the elements to bolster care coordination, such as

  • ? What the plan is for outpatient follow-up, including a specific date, time, and address of the clinic for a scheduled or proposed follow-up appointments?
  • ? If the patient has an outpatient treatment team, the contact information and consent to verify or make subsequent appointments for the patient is needed.
  • ? If the patient is on medication, do they have the appropriate amount of medications available, and is their pharmacy accessible to them, if applicable?
  • ? Collateral contacts (e.g., family or friends) that can be contacted to verify any information as needed, with the appropriate patient consents.

As these elements are gathered, the template of the discharge instructions and summary matures. Boonyasai et al. prepared a report in 2014 titled “Improving the Emergency Department Discharge Process: Environmental Scan Report,” that we recommend reviewing, as it delineates different populations, psychiatry among them, settings, and an evaluation of the possible outcomes that arise in the ED discharge process.

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