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The Patient Care Notebook: From Pilot Phase to Successful Hospitalwide Dissemination

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Background: A patient care notebook that patients take with them to different care settings improved discharge planning and patient education during a pilot find, organize, clarify, understand, select–plan, do, check, act (FOCUS–PDCA) project on a 15-bed rehabilitation unit. The 296-bed rehabilitation hospital expanded the notebook's use to all hospital programs through a second PDCA cycle.

Adapting the Notebook: The three-ring binder notebook sections were modified from the pilot notebook to three sections standardized for all programs. Materials included information about hospital services and patients' rights and medical information about future appointments, specific diagnostic information, home medications and exercises, and equipment and home modifications. Staff were educated about the notebook through in-services and an educational video.

Results: When patients and their families who were discharged with home services were contacted, more than two-thirds reported that the notebooks were useful and easy to use. As staff became more familiar with the notebook, 75% or more reported that the notebooks were useful and easy to use and improved the discharge process. The notebooks were still used two years after their introduction.

Discussion: An innovative and helpful new care process, the patient care notebook can improve a rehabilitation hospital's patient education and discharge planning processes. It represents a better practice in health care provider/patient communication.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-07-01

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