patient discharge; discharge planning; discharge summary; patient discharge summaries; pediatrics; pediatric intensive care units; pediatric ICU; critical care; quality improvement


Medical Education | Patient Safety | Pediatrics



Discharging intensive care unit (ICU) patients directly home is becoming more common. High-quality ICU discharge summaries are crucial in the transition of patient care. Currently, at Memorial Health University Medical Center (MHUMC), there exists no standardized ICU discharge summary template or consistency when discharge documentation is completed. Investigators evaluated the timeliness and completeness of ICU discharge summaries at MHUMC produced by pediatric residents.


A single-center retrospective chart review of pediatric patients discharged directly from a 10-bed Pediatric ICU to home was conducted. Charts were evaluated pre- and post-intervention. The intervention included the implementation of a standardized ICU discharge template, formal resident training in writing discharge summaries, and a new policy mandating documentation completion within 48 hours of patient discharge. Timeliness was based on documentation completion within 48 hours. Completeness was evaluated on the presence of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations’ (JCAHO) recommendations of specific components that should be included in all discharge summaries. Results were reported as proportions, with differences calculated using Fisher’s exact and chi-square tests. Patient descriptive characteristics were recorded.


Thirty-nine total patients, 13 pre-intervention and 26 post-intervention were included in the study. In the pre-intervention group, 38.5% (5/13) had discharge summaries completed in less than 48 hours from patient discharge compared to 88.5% (23/26) in the post-intervention group (P=.002). Post-intervention discharge documentation was more likely than pre-intervention to contain the discharge diagnosis (100% vs. 69.2%, P=.009) and to provide follow-up care instructions for the outpatient physician (100% vs. 75%, P=.031).


Standardizing discharge summary templates and encouraging stricter institutional policies regarding the timely completion of discharge summaries can improve the ICU discharge process. Formal resident training in medical documentation is important and should be incorporated into graduate medical education curricula.