Patient flow, from emergency department admission through to discharge, influences hospital overcrowding. We aimed to improve patient flow by increasing discharge lounge (DL) usage.
Patients need to receive a continuum of nursing care to encourage compliance with follow-up care after discharge from the acute care setting.
Baseline data revealed inefficient use of the DL. We targeted the medical-surgical unit with the lowest DL use and trialed interventions over sequential Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles.
After surveying the nursing staff, we assessed the influence of 3 interventions on DL usage: educating staff on patient eligibility, engaging a recruitment scout, and displaying a visual cue notifying staff when a patient's discharge order was written.
The unit's average DL use increased from 18% to 36%, while hospital overcrowding and discharge turnaround time decreased.
The DL is an effective tool to improve patient flow and decrease hospital overcrowding.