Emergency Department Discharge Instructions

Emergency Department Discharge Instructions


According to the article “Patient understanding of emergency department discharge instructions: where are knowledge deficits greatest?”, the study was conducted with the objective of comprehending if patients discharged from emergency departments understood their discharge instructions, and if not where this deficiency in knowledge existed. The study revealed that a lot of patients discharged from emergency departments were required to take good care of their health at home.

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Was the study approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB)?

The study was conducted using a prospective cohort research design, which involved phone interviews in adult patients who had a command of the English language. These interviews were conducted about 24 to 36 hours after the patients were discharged from the emergency department. Before the research was conducted, the researchers obtained the approval for the research from the Institutional Review Board (Engel, et al., 2012)Emergency Department Discharge Instructions.


Was informed consent obtained from the subjects?

The selection of the participants was done from a database kept by the hospital. After the eligible respondents were identified, phone calls were made to them to obtain verbal consent before the interviews began. All the interviews conducted via the phone were audiotaped and later transcribed for effective review (Engel, et al., 2012).

Is there information about provisions for anonymity or confidentiality?

However, the article does not clarify whether any provisions were made with respect to the anonymity and confidentiality of the respondents.

Were vulnerable subjects used?

The survey was carried out in a hospital found in Chicago. The hospital attended to over 80,000 patients each year. The participants were those who had been discharged under a period of one year. In addition, they must have been diagnosed with one of the five categories of ailments that had been selected. The exclusion criteria included patients who did not speak English, those aged 18 years and below, those with a critical psychiatric history, those with critical cases of dementia, those who are not personally responsible for their own care, and those patients who did not have an active phone line listed. All the patients meeting these exclusion criteria were excluded from the study. This means no vulnerable patient was recruited in the study (Engel, et al., 2012)Emergency Department Discharge Instructions.

Does it appear that subjects might have been coerced into acting as subjects?

From this article, there is no reference or citation made to any instance that may suggest that any of the respondents was coerced into participating in the study.

Is it evident that the benefits of participation in the study outweighed the risks involved?

It is evident from the results and findings that the benefits of participating in the study outweighed the risks involved. This is because the study confirmed that a lot of patients left the emergency department with a substantial deficit in terms of their comprehension of the instructions provided to them after being discharged. The study took a fundamental step by identifying in exceptional detail, the precise areas of the discharge instructions provided at the emergency department, which were associated with the significant deficit of knowledge (Engel, et al., 2012).

Were subjects provided the opportunity to ask questions about the study and told how to contact the researcher if other questions arose?

During the study, the respondents were allowed to ask questions which were answered by the interviewing nurses. At the end of each interview, the interviewers to the opportunity to reinforce the care instructions, made corrections in questions that the respondents answered, and accepted to answer any other additional question (Engel, et al., 2012).

Were the subjects told how they could obtain the results of the study?

However, the respondents were not provided with the relevant information on how they could access the results of the study in the future. Emergency Department Discharge Instructions


Patients often leave the emergency department without fully comprehending their discharge instructions. It is evident that most of the knowledge deficit occurs in the home care domain.


Engel, K. G., Buckley, B. A., Forth, V. E., McCarthy, D. M., Ellison, E. P., Schmidt, M. J., & Adams, J. G. (2012). Patient understanding of emergency department discharge instructions: where are knowledge deficits greatest? Academic Emergency Medicine, 19(9), E1035-E1044. Emergency Department Discharge Instructions


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