July 31, 2012

Patient discharge lounge opens Monday in VUH

After undergoing a successful pilot program that began in April, a new Discharge Lounge is formally opening in Vanderbilt University Hospital (VUH) for the convenience of adult patients who are discharged and awaiting transportation or the completion of other post-discharge services.

After three months, the evaluation of the pilot program demonstrated a positive impact on patient satisfaction. Patient feedback included such positive comments as “excellent care,” “liked getting my meds filled quicker,” and “worked great for me.”

Additionally, during the pilot phase wait times for beds for new patient admissions were decreased by 49 hours, even though only 36 patients met the criteria for transition to the Discharge Lounge. The lounge’s opening has resulted in unit beds being freed earlier, decreasing the length of time that both emergency and elective admissions have been holding for bed placement.

“The Discharge Lounge provides a positive experience for those patients who are discharged but are unable to leave the hospital because they are waiting for transportation, the delivery of durable medical equipment, medications or other post-discharge services,” said Allen Kaiser, M.D., chief of staff for the Vanderbilt Health System. “Prior to this innovation, these patients remained in their hospital beds. Now these patients have the option of attending a comfortable, dedicated discharge area that can help address these needs.”

In the Discharge Lounge, patients have access to drinks, snacks, and meals when necessary. Daily newspapers are available and patients have specialized comfortable seating in order to relax and watch television. Lockers with keys are provided to patients for storage of personnel items. In addition, the VUH Pharmacy, in collaboration with Case Management and Social Work, will deliver to the patient their first dose of discharge medications while in the Discharge Lounge. At the patient’s request, the Pharmacy is also working on a method to fill discharged patient’s prescriptions while they wait for their transportation in the discharge lounge.

A task force continues to work to further refine appropriate patient populations who can best benefit from the lounge’s services.

The Discharge Lounge opened for use on the second level of the VUH main lobby on July 30, and is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Questions regarding the Discharge Lounge can be directed to the VUH Administrative Coordinator or Linda Wiese, Administrative Director, Office of Case Management/Social Work/Utilization Management & Access Services.