Parental Management of Discharge Instructions: A Systematic Review
CONTEXT: Parents often manage complex instructions when their children are discharged from the inpatient setting or emergency department (ED); misunderstanding instructions can put children at risk for adverse outcomes. Parents' ability to manage discharge instructions has not been examined before in a systematic review. OBJECTIVE: To perform a systematic review of the literature related to parental management (knowledge and execution) of inpatient and ED discharge instructions. DATA SOURCES: We consulted PubMed/Medline, Embase, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and Cochrane CENTRAL (from database inception to January 1, 2017). STUDY SELECTION: We selected experimental or observational studies in the inpatient or ED settings in which parental knowledge or execution of discharge instructions were evaluated. DATA EXTRACTION: Two authors independently screened potential studies for inclusion and extracted data from eligible articles by using a structured form. RESULTS: Sixty-four studies met inclusion criteria; most (n = 48) were ED studies. Medication dosing and adherence errors were common; knowledge of medication side effects was understudied (n = 1). Parents frequently missed follow-up appointments and misunderstood return precaution instructions. Few researchers conducted studies that assessed management of instructions related to diagnosis (n = 3), restrictions (n = 2), or equipment (n = 1). Complex discharge plans (eg, multiple medicines or appointments), limited English proficiency, and public or no insurance were associated with errors. Few researchers conducted studies that evaluated the role of parent health literacy (ED, n = 5; inpatient, n = 0). LIMITATIONS: The studies were primarily observational in nature. CONCLUSIONS: Parents frequently make errors related to knowledge and execution of inpatient and ED discharge instructions. Researchers in the future should assess parental management of instructions for domains that are less well studied and focus on the design of interventions to improve discharge plan management.
Implementation of an Inpatient Pediatric Sepsis Identification Pathway
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Early identification and treatment of severe sepsis and septic shock improves outcomes. We sought to identify and evaluate children with possible sepsis on a pediatric medical/surgical unit through successful implementation of a sepsis identification pathway. METHODS: The sepsis identification pathway, a vital sign screen and subsequent physician evaluation, was implemented in October 2013. Quality improvement interventions were used to improve physician and nursing adherence with the pathway. We reviewed charts of patients with positive screens on a monthly basis to assess for nursing recognition/physician notification, physician evaluation for sepsis, and subsequent physician diagnosis of sepsis and severe sepsis/septic shock. Adherence data were analyzed on a run chart and statistical process control p-chart. RESULTS: Nursing and physician pathway adherence of >80% was achieved over a 6-month period and sustained for the following 6 months. The direction of improvements met standard criteria for special causes. Over a 1-year period, there were 963 admissions to the unit. Positive screens occurred in 161 (16.7%) of these admissions and 38 (23.5%) of these had a physician diagnosis of sepsis, severe sepsis, or septic shock. One patient with neutropenia and septic shock had a negative sepsis screen due to lack of initial fever. CONCLUSIONS: Using quality improvement methodology, we successfully implemented a sepsis identification pathway on our pediatric unit. The pathway provided a standardized process to identify and evaluate children with possible sepsis requiring timely evaluation and treatment.