Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Hospital patient discharge process: an evaluation
  1. Sally Bullock1,2,
  2. Charles W Morecroft1,
  3. Rachel Mullen1,
  4. Alison B Ewing1,2
  1. 1 Centre for Pharmacy Innovation, Liverpool John Moores University, School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, Liverpool, UK
  2. 2 Department of Pharmacy, The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital NHS Trust, Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence to Sally Bullock, Centre for Pharmacy Innovation, School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Room 7.46 James Parsons Building, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF, UK; s.bullock{at}


Objectives Medication discrepancies for patients after discharge from hospital are well documented. They have been shown to cause unnecessary harm to patients and can result in hospital readmission. To improve patient discharge, the current process of discharging patients from hospital (the discharge process) needs evaluating to determine where and why medication issues occur. This study aimed to identify and evaluate the discharge process used in a range of acute National Health Service hospitals across the North West of England.

Methods This qualitative study involved semi-structured telephone interviews with 13 chief pharmacists or an appropriately nominated member of the hospital pharmacy team. Thematic analysis of the transcribed interview data was performed. Data analysis revealed eight main themes which all impacted on the discharge process.

Results The study was successful in identifying the discharge process across the range of hospitals as well as key issues and examples of good practice. The hospitals involved in the study were found to have similar discharge processes with issues common to all. One significant finding was a lack of patient involvement in the discharge process.

Conclusions To improve the patient discharge process, innovative solutions are required to overcome the current issues. In future work, the study findings will be used to develop a new model of care for patient discharge from hospital.


Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.