A recent study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that only about half of discharged patients understood their discharge summaries. This is a problem because these summaries are often full of important information, such as medication instructions or follow-up appointments. The researchers concluded that health care providers should take more time to explain things in simple language and provide written materials like brochures or pamphlets for people who need them.
It's not just reading comprehension skills at issue here: many people have difficulty understanding medical jargon, especially if they're unfamiliar with the terminology used in their condition (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis). In addition, some conditions require complicated treatment plans involving multiple medications which can be difficult to remember without written reminders from doctors on what needs to happen when certain symptoms arise again after leaving the hospital. For example, someone recovering from pneumonia might forget how long it takes antibiotics to work if they don't get an explanation before being sent home; meanwhile someone with diabetes may need help remembering how much insulin they should inject based on factors like weight gain or loss during hospitalization - but this information won’t appear in a typical discharge summary unless specifically requested by a doctor beforehand!
Patient understanding of their diagnosis and treatment can be vital for them in order to make decisions about their health. Patients who are not literate may not be able to read discharge summaries, which means they will not know what medications they should take or how often. In addition, patients with limited English proficiency may find it difficult to understand medical terminology used in the summary. The lack of comprehension could lead to an increase in hospitalizations and emergency department visits because patients do not fully comprehend instructions on medication use when discharged from the hospital. It has been shown that even after reading a discharge summary, many patients still don't fully grasp what happened during their stay at the hospital (Kohn et al., 2013). This study also found that there was no significant difference between those who received help from family members and those who did not receive any assistance; both groups had difficulty understanding information contained within a discharge summary (Kohn et al., 2013).
It is imperative for all healthcare providers involved with care delivery--from physicians through nurses--to ensure that each patient understands his/her condition as well as necessary treatments before leaving the facility so these individuals can continue managing their conditions outside of hospitals where appropriate resources are less accessible than inside institutions like hospitals.
-Patients with lower health literacy have a greater difficulty in interpreting and following discharge instructions.
-The complexity of medical language may also be an issue for some patients.
-Nurses spend less time explaining to patients how to follow their prescriptions, which can lead to misunderstanding or even noncompliance with medication regimens.
-Some physicians do not take the time necessary when communicating information about a diagnosis and treatment plan, leading to confusion on behalf of the patient.
A study by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that physicians are not always sure of what medications their patients will be taking at home. They may also forget to ask about allergies, or how much water the patient should drink each day (which can affect kidney function). The study concluded that health care providers need more education on: 1) communicating with patients in a way they understand; 2) understanding which drugs interact with others; 3) knowing when it is necessary to prescribe an antibiotic before discharge, even if there is no infection present.
The researchers recommend educating physicians on these areas so they better understand why some patients do not follow through with instructions given during hospitalization.
The answer is yes. There are many ways that medical staff can improve the process of giving clear directions for what to do after being discharged from the hospital or emergency department. One strategy would be to use an electronic health record (EHR) system which has features designed specifically for writing discharge summaries, including templates with standardized language, reminders about important topics like medications and follow-up appointments, and prompts for documenting patient understanding of instructions. Another strategy would be to have physicians who specialize in educating patients on how best take care of themselves teach these skills during visits before discharge; this could also help reduce readmissions rates as well as save money on unnecessary costs associated with repeat visits because there will not be any misunderstandings between doctors when they see each other again at a later date. A third suggestion might involve having nurses work closely with physicians while developing discharge plans together; this collaboration could lead to better communication between both parties instead of just one person dictating orders without input from others involved in the process.
Patients with lower levels of education and/or poor English skills are more likely to have difficulty reading discharge summaries. In a study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), it was found that only 7% of those who had less than a high school diploma were able to fully understand their discharge summary; this number increased up until about 25% among those who had completed some college. The AHRQ also found that people who speak languages other than English as their first language may not be able to fully comprehend the information in the discharge summary because they do not understand medical terminology used in such documents. Furthermore, if someone has rheumatoid arthritis (RA) then they will need medication after leaving hospital which can make it difficult for them to follow written instructions when they get home from hospital because RA causes joint pain which makes writing difficult and typing impossible.