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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A discharge summary adapted to the frail elderly to ensure transfer of relevant information from the hospital to community settings: a model

Marie-Jeanne Kergoat1*, Judith Latour12, Isabelle Julien1, Marie-Andrée Plante1, Paule Lebel1, Dominique Mainville1, Aline Bolduc1 and Julie Anne Buckland1

Author Affiliations

1 Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, Montréal (QC), Canada

2 Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Montréal (QC), Canada

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BMC Geriatrics 2010, 10:69  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-10-69

Published: 23 September 2010

Abstract

Background

Elderly patients admitted to Geriatric Assessment Units (GAU) typically have complex health problems that require multi-professional care. Considering the scope of human and technological resources solicited during hospitalization, as well as the many risks and discomforts incurred by the patient, it is important to ensure the communication of pertinent information for quality follow-up care in the community setting. Conventional discharge summaries do not adequately incorporate the elements specific to an aging clientele.

Objective

To develop a discharge summary adapted to the frail elderly patient (D-SAFE) in order to communicate relevant information from hospital to community services.

Methods

The items to be included in the D-SAFE have been determined by means of a modified Delphi method through consultation with clinical experts from GAUs (11 physicians and 5 pharmacists) and the community (10 physicians and 5 pharmacists). The consensus analysis and the level of agreement among the experts were reached using a modified version of the RAND®/University of California at Los Angeles appropriateness method.

Results

A consensus was reached after two rounds of consultation for all the items evaluated, where none was judged «inappropriate». Among the items proposed, four were judged to be « uncertain » and were eliminated from the final D-SAFE, which was divided into two sections: the medical discharge summary (22 main items) and the discharge prescription (14 main items).

Conclusions

The D-SAFE was developed as a more comprehensive tool specifically designed for GAU inpatients. Additional research to validate its acceptability and practical impact on the continuity of care is needed before it can be recommended for use on a broader scale.