Provision of high-quality care at the right time, in the right place and delivered by the right persons is of vital importance in reducing pressure on hospital services. Rapid and efficient discharge of patients from acute hospital beds to the next level of care plays a vital part in ensuring capacity is available for patients needing to access acute care beds. Equally important is the need to ensure that the transition for patients from acute hospital to community care is safe, well coordinated, and well communicated.
Discharge planning begins at the patient’s initial assessment or within 24 hours of admission or initiation of a service (ACT, 2006). It requires the development and implementation of a documented discharge plan, which locates and builds on any previous assessment or care plans.
The purpose of the planning is to ensure continuity of care, so the plan is reviewed and altered to take into account changes in individual housing and social situations, and it should be tailored to the patient’s characteristics (Wibe, et al., 2014). The process of discharge planning is the responsibility of all the healthcare providers involved with the patient. It is, however, coordinated by a named person who has responsibility for ensuring that all aspects of planning have been addressed by the time of discharge from the care setting.
The discharge policy should be developed to support good practice by providing direction for staff involved in the discharge planning process. The aim of the policy should be to ensure provision of fit, timely discharge arrangements to an appropriate safe environment for all patients on completion of their care (Silow-Caroll et al., 2011). The aim of this paper is to analyze discharge policy in Jordan’s Prince Hamzah Hospital, in order to develop a new discharge policy that is more efficient.
In this paper, the analysis of Prince Hamzah Hospital’s discharge policy follows Patton and Sawicki’ssix-step model (Patton & Sawicki, 1993) as shown in Figure 1 below. The steps are: problem identification, determining policy objectives, establishing evaluation criteria, suggesting possible alternatives, assessing these possible alternatives, and implementing, monitoring and evaluating the new, modified policy.
The discharge policy of Prince Hamzah Hospital states that the decision to and timing of discharge is the responsibility of the attending physician and is based on the physician’s assessment of the patient’s medical condition.
The problems associated with this discharge process are that some patients are readmitted to the hospital within a short period of time, which means unplanned readmission, and some patients having delays in the discharge process for reasons not related to their medical condition, resulting in an increased length of stay; also, some patients are discharged from the hospital without satisfaction about their medical care and health...