Patient experience and satisfaction with discharge from trauma hospitals

Patient with Caregiver

Each year, millions of people worldwide experience traumatic brain injury (TBI). After receiving treatment at trauma hospitals, the discharge process remains an important transition point in the recovery process, as long-term treatment recommendations are made and some patients may take over responsibility for their own care. When transitions are improperly planned or result in communication errors, individuals with TBI may experience poor clinical outcomes, medication errors, and dissatisfaction with the healthcare experience. As a result, the discharge experience is critical for a safe and fast recovery process.

A recent study in Norway examined the trauma discharge process, patient satisfaction, and overall health outcomes for 74 adults who sustained TBI. The participants were interviewed at six months post-injury about their experience with care transition. The researchers determined that one-third of the patients weren’t involved in their own discharge processes, and that these patients were overall less satisfied with the quality of their care transitions. On the other hand, patients who were involved in coordinating their own care reported significantly higher satisfaction with the experience. Those whose TBI was more severe were overall less satisfied with the quality of their discharge and care transitions.

After experiencing TBI, the transition between trauma hospital and next-step care is a critical part of injury recovery. People who are dissatisfied with their care transitions may experience poorer outcomes and delayed or reduced recovery. As a result, patient involvement in healthcare decisions and plan coordination is crucial for overall satisfaction with the discharge process and for long-term positive outcomes.

Buaas C, Howe EI, Røe C, et al. Traumatic brain injury: Patient experience and satisfaction with discharge from trauma hospitals. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine. (April 2018).

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