Discharge from an emergency department observation unit and a surgical assessment unit: experiences of patients with acute abdominal pain

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Abstrakt

Aims and objectives: To investigate the experiences of patients with acute abdominal pain at discharge from an emergency department observation unit compared with discharge from a surgical assessment unit. Background: The increase in emergency department observation units has increased short-term admissions and changed the patient journey from admission and discharge from specialised wards staffed by specialist nurses to admission and discharge from units staffed by emergency nurses. Design: A comparative qualitative interview study. Methods: The study included 20 patients: 10 from an emergency department observation unit and 10 from a surgical assessment unit, and took a phenomenological-hermeneutic approach. Patients were interviewed at discharge and three months later. Results: More patients from the emergency department observation unit experienced readiness for discharge and had plans for follow-up, compared with patients from the surgical assessment unit. In the surgical assessment unit, more patients were readmitted, had unanswered questions after three months and experienced a follow-up visit at the general practitioner as insufficient. More patients from the surgical assessment unit reported receiving useful self-care advice, compared with those from the emergency department observation unit. Conclusion: The experience of emergency department observation unit patients on discharge and follow-up was that the health professionals were more supportive, compared with surgical assessment unit patients, who felt discharge occurred too early, but with more preparation for independent home self-care. These results are an important factor in the patient experience of discharge from hospital and may reflect differences in specialisation of the nurses. Relevance to clinical practice: Units discharging patients with acute abdominal pain could be inspired by scheduled fast-track surgery programmes with structured information about admission, treatment and follow-up and easy access to relevant health professionals after discharge.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Clinical Nursing
Vol/bind23
Udgave nummer19/20
Sider (fra-til)2779–2789
ISSN0962-1067
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 1. okt. 2014

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