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Hospital to trial nurse-led discharge program

By Karen Keast | Last Updated: 20-11-2013

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation SA branch secretary Elizabeth Dabars

Nurses and allied health professionals will be able to discharge patients under a new pilot program at South Australia’s Flinders Medical Centre.

The state government has announced its Criteria Led Discharge initiative, now being developed by doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, has been designed to reduce patients’ length of stay in hospital and free up hospital beds.

Expected to be introduced early next year, the program will enable nurses and other authorised health professionals to discharge patients who have met specific criteria established by the patient’s doctor or consultant.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation SA branch secretary Elizabeth Dabars said the union had been calling for more government focus on advanced practice nurse roles, including nurse-led discharge.
“We are very pleased that the nurse-led discharge was picked up,” she said.

“It’s a very important initiative; we are very pleased to see it.

“We believe it will have the capacity to reduce the number of people spending unnecessary time in a hospital bed, which is of benefit to freeing up the emergency department.”

Ms Dabars said nurse-led discharge is safe and effective and the union wants the process implemented in other hospitals.

“For instance, a patient may be able to leave the hospital when they have a particular blood pressure, temperature or a blood result within a normal range for that patient,” she said.

“This will reduce delays and increase access to vital hospital beds to patients that really need them.”

Nurse-led discharge is used in parts of Australia and also overseas, in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.
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