Background There have been no published studies observing what happens to children post hospital discharge and if medication discrepancies occurred between the hospital and General Practitioner (GP) interface.1
Objectives To identify the type of discrepancies between hospital discharge prescription and the patient's medicines after their first GP prescription.
Method Over a 3 month period (March–June 2012) across two London NHS hospital sites, parents of children on long term medications aged 18 years and under, were approached and consented prior to discharge from the ward. The patients were followed up 21 days after discharge by telephone call or home visit depending on their preference. The parent was asked if they had contacted their GP for further medications during the follow up, and if not the follow up was rescheduled. The parents were interviewed to find out if there were any discrepancies that occurred post discharge by comparing the patient's hospital discharge letter and medication at follow up. All this information was captured on a data collection form.
Results Eighty-eight patients were consented and 60 patients (68%; 60/88) were followed up by telephone call 21 days post discharge. A total of 317 medications were ordered at discharge among the 60 patients. Of the 60 that were followed up, nine were lost to follow up, one died post discharge, one was excluded from the study, and 11 had not contacted the GP and were to be followed up at a later date. Of the 38 patients who were followed up, 254 medications were ordered. Of the 38 patients there were 12 (32%) patients who had discrepancies that occurred between the discharge letter and GP, 19 (50%) had no issues, and seven (18%) mentioned issues to do with post discharge that were not discrepancies. Of the 12 patients who had at least one medication discrepancy (total 34 medications, range 1–7 discrepancies per patient), six patients had GP discrepancies, four had discrepancies resulting from a hospital outpatient appointment, one related to the discharge letter order and one was a complex discrepancy. An example: a patient was discharged on amiodarone liquid 16.5 mg daily as opposed to 65 mg daily of amiodarone from the GP. Upon interview the parent used volume units to communicate dose as opposed to the actual dose itself and the strengths of liquid had changed.
Conclusions The preliminary results from the study have shown that discrepancies due to several causes occur when paediatric patients leave hospital.