Far too many patients every year get themselves discharged from the hospital earlier than the doctor recommends. This is a common practice, but one that may have serious consequences for the patient.
The findings come as the result of a review which was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society recently and finds that such voluntary, early discharges by patients are very common. Certain patients are much more likely to get themselves discharged from the hospital early, in the face of the doctor’s advice. Male patients, for instance, are much more likely to get an early discharge, compared to female patients. Younger patients, according to the data, seem to be much more likely to leave the hospital early.
Among older persons, the rate of early discharge is much higher among black patients, compared to whites. The rate is as much as 65% higher for blacks, compared to whites. Lower income older people may also find themselves asking for an early discharge, with a rate that is 57% higher than those with higher incomes.
When a patient decides to get an early discharge from the hospital against the advice of his doctor, there are serious consequences that he can expect to face. According to data, such early discharges from hospitals can actually increase the risk of readmission to the hospital. The patient may find that his health deteriorates as a result of the early discharge, and may have to get himself readmitted back into the hospital. Patients, who get discharged too early, may also be faced with a much higher risk of deterioration in their medical condition, and even death.
Sometimes, the decision to leave a hospital is linked to insurance issues. However, that may not really explain why so many seniors, who enjoy Medicare coverage choose a voluntary early discharge from the hospital.
When a patient gets discharged from the hospital too early, there is a disruption in the lines of communication between the patient and the facility, including healthcare providers like the doctors. The post-discharge period is crucial to a patient, and failure to adhere to important instructions during this time can have serious consequences. These instructions may be related to the taking of medications, dietary restrictions, and other factors that can speed up the recovery process and help prevent infections. However, when the patient decides to leave the hospital early, important post-discharge instructions may be left out or misunderstood, and this can have serious consequences for the patient’s post-hospitalization recovery.
Your doctor must provide you with clear instructions about medications, dosages, dietary restrictions and other factors affecting your care after your discharge from the hospital. Make sure that you follow these instructions carefully in order to avoid medical complications or readmissions.
The Indianapolis medical malpractice attorneys at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy, LLP represent persons injured as a result of medical negligence across Indiana.