Discharge from the hospital is the point at which a patient leaves the hospital and returns home or is transferred to a rehabilitation facility or a nursing home. The discharge process typically centers on the specific medical instructions which will encourage the healing process necessary for a full recovery by the patient. The planning process or discharge planning is also a service which fully integrates the recovering patient’s needs just after the hospital stay. In many instances, the discharge plan may includes ancillary services such as visiting nursing care, out patient physical therapy, home blood drawing, or even neuropathy observation. (Forster, 2003)
Hospitalization is usually a short term event. The discharge planning process often begins shortly after a patient is admitted to the hospital. Physicians, nurses, and case managers who played a role in caring for the patient during hospitalization are also involved in the planning process. This team of individuals collectively assesses the patient’s progress made during the hospital stay. At the top of the mind is the patient’s level of ability or functioning prior the hospital admission. And whether or not the patient will be able to return to this level and even return home. (Forster, 2003)
Once a patient has been discharged, several items should have been conveyed to the patient. Some of the items are diagnosis, treatment recommendations (any new medications or a change in current medications), routine follow up plans, and what, if any, symptoms warrant an immediate return to the emergency room. In other words, once a patient has received the discharge orders leading up to discharge should follow policies and procedures as set forth by Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987.
The case of Somoza v St. Vincent’s Hospital is one case where discharge orders did not follow established norms. Dr. Svesko was the private physician of Mrs. Somoza, who was admitted to...