AN AUDIT OF HOSPITAL DISCHARGE LETTERS IN PATIENTS ADMITTED WITH ACUTE ASTHMA

B J LIPWORTH, J ALLAN, C M JACKSON, P D DHILLON, J H WINTER, R A CLARK

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9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The management of patients following discharge with acute asthma is dependent on effective communication with general practitioners. A retrospective audit was therefore performed on copies kept of 81 typed discharge letters with a diagnosis of acute asthma between March and October 1991. A subset of 42 interim (handwritten) letters were also audited where case notes could be retrieved. Details on clinic follow up were also obtained from the case notes (n=42). In the typed letter documentation of severity and treatment of the acute attack was accurate in most cases. Information concerning a precipatating factor was provided in 54% of cases and a smoking history in 57%. Deficiencies were found in specifying inhaler delivery devices (40% recorded), and whether inhaler technique had been formally assessed whilst in hospital (17%). Drug prescribing on discharge was as follows: oral steroid (69%), inhaled steroids (77%), inhaled B2-agonists (92%), theophylline slow release (38%), salbutamol controlled release (20%), and antibiotics (30%). The implementation of a self-management plan and domiciliary peak flow was mentioned in 66% of the letters. The interim letter was generally poor in particular for mention if discharge peak flow (2%), clinic follow-up (64%) and prednisolone regime (61%). Mean +/- s.d. time for clinic follow-up (n=42) was 4.7 +/- 1.7 weeks (range 1-13 weeks) with 24% non-attendance. Thus, improvements in discharge letters are clearly required for optimum continuity of care in the community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-119
Number of pages4
JournalScottish Medical Journal
Volume38
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1993

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