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A Systematic Review of Criteria-Led Patient Discharge

Lees-Deutsch, Liz, MSc, Dip HSM, RN; Robinson, Jane, BSc, RN

doi: 10.1097/NCQ.0000000000000356

Background: This article reports on a systematic review conducted to critique safety, quality, length of stay, and implementation factors regarding criteria-led discharge.

Purpose: Improving patient flow and timely bed capacity is a global issue. Criteria-led discharge enables accelerated patient discharge in accordance with patient selection.

Methods: A systematic review was conducted to identify literature on criteria-led discharge from 2007 to 2017. The quality of articles was appraised using a tool for disparate studies. Two reviewers extracted relevant data independently.

Results: Fifteen studies were identified that showed no increase in patient readmission or complication rates with criteria-led discharge, demonstrating patient safety. The quality of the patient discharge was unremarkable. None of the studies showed an increase in length of stay.

Conclusions: The safety, quality, and length of stay for patients discharged through criteria-led discharge are inextricably linked to the process adopted for its implementation.

University Hospitals Birmingham, NHS Foundation Trust, Heartlands Hospital, West Midlands, United Kingdom (Ms Lees-Deutsch); The University of Birmingham, Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom (Ms Lees-Deutsch); Society for Acute Medicine, Edinburgh, United Kingdom (Ms Lees-Deutsch); National Health Service Improvement, London, United Kingdom (Ms Robinson); and Royal College of Nursing, London, United Kingdom (Ms Robinson).

Correspondence: Liz Lees-Deutsch, MSc, Dip HSM, RN, University Hospitals Birmingham, NHS Foundation Trust, Heartlands Hospital, Bordesley Green, Birmingham B9 5SS, West Midlands, United Kingdom (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Accepted for publication: July 9, 2018

Published ahead of print: September 6, 2018

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