Awareness of diagnosis and follow up care after discharge from the Emergency Department

Kelly Leamy, John Thompson, Biswadev Mitra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Patients currently receive discharge summaries including investigation results, medical assessment and follow up requirements with health professionals on discharge from the emergency department (ED). This study aimed to evaluate if a simplified discharge information card in addition to current care improved patients’ awareness of their discharge diagnosis and requirements for follow-up appointment. Methods: A prospective pre-post design interventional study was conducted. The pre-intervention phase collected data from patients who did not receive the discharge card. The post-intervention phase occurred after implementing the discharge card. Participants underwent brief interviews to assess awareness of diagnosis and follow-up appointment requirements after discharge. Responses were compared to the plan in the medical notes and concordance determined. Results: There were 112 patients in the pre-intervention group and 117 in the post-intervention group. Awareness of discharge diagnosis improved from 73.2% (95% CI: 64.3–80.5) of pre-interventions participants to 89.7% (95% CI: 82.9–94.0) for participants receiving the discharge card (p < 0.001; NNT 6.1 patients). Statistically significant improvements were observed regarding knowledge of follow-up destination and timing. Conclusion: A short discharge information card improved awareness of discharge diagnoses and follow-up requirements. Such interventions that empower patients with knowledge about their health, should be considered prior to discharge from EDs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-226
Number of pages6
JournalAustralasian Emergency Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Communication
  • Discharge instructions
  • Emergency department
  • Patient education
  • Patient safety

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