Top 5 things to do prior to discharging a patient

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  1. Shake the patient’s hand: There’s no better feeling than stopping over to say goodbye to a patient who is dressed, energized, and fully ready to leave with a clear understanding of medical decision making, return precautions, and follow-up plans.
  2. Trust your instincts: Our responsibility doesn’t end when the patient leaves those department doors. We are obligated to protect our patient in the emergency room as well as AFTER they are discharged.
  3. Read over the chart: Skim the triage summary, vitals, and the notes. double-check reads on imaging/labs and repeat vitals, since the worst feeling is to discharge a patient with a documented HR of 120 or a incidental nodule on chest-xray that you never told the patient about.
  4. Examine your patient (twice is better than once): repeat physical exam, vitals, and further probing of history (with appropriate associated documentation as well).
  5. Check to see that the patient can eat, talk, walk, poop, and pee.

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