Interfacility Transfers: Pearls & Pitfalls for the Emergency Patient

  • Patients must be stabilized to the best of the facility’s ability prior to transfer. Any life-threatening process that requires immediate management must be treated prior to transfer.
  • If speciality consultation is required, it is important that as the receiving physician accepting a transfer, you ensure the specialist has agreed to accept and see the patient.
  • As a receiving physician, you have an obligation to report inappropriate transfers within 72 hours – not doing may result in unnecessary delays in the future.
  • A common pitfall for ED physicians is to perform an extensive evaluation on a trauma patient that requires a transfer. Recognize the resource limitations of your facility early. Avoid workups that won’t change patient management.
  • Frequently, patients are transferred long distances, which may make discharge difficult if there is limited social support. Engage case workers and discharge planners to address these unique situations.
Emergency Medicine Kenya Foundation

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