Tammy Linton

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Committee Chair

Gayle Casterline


Identification of discharge barriers early during the hospital stay is essential to coordinate services post-discharge. Timely discharge of patients when medically safe controls costs, promotes positive health outcomes, and increases quality of care. Discharge planning is a multifaceted interaction that relies heavily on effective communication between all disciplines and the patient. Research suggests interdisciplinary collaboration and effective communication as leading strategies to mitigate discharge delays. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of interdisciplinary collaboration on discharge planning and length of stay for medical surgical patients. A daily discharge team meeting was implemented as a best practice strategy to identify barriers, discuss recommendations, exchange ideas, and develop a comprehensive discharge plan. The team consisted of nurses, social workers, case managers, physical therapist, occupational therapist, nutritionist, utilization management coordinators, and physicians. Daily interdisciplinary team meetings (IDT) were implemented Monday through Friday at 11:00 a.m. for four medicine teams for four weeks. This evidence-based solution facilitated shared decision making in the discharge process and improved patient satisfaction related to the discharge process. Collaboration among the interdisciplinary team members was assessed post implementation using a modified Nurse-Physician Collaboration tool (Vazirani, Hays, Shapiro, & Cowan, 2005); 92% of the participants surveyed believed the information exchanged during IDT positively impacted patient outcomes. Length of stay was decreased for three of four medical units and avoidable bed days of care reduced for two of the four units. Substantial research has been done to validate interdisciplinary communication as a best practice to improve the discharge process and patient outcomes. This project accomplished its goal of designing a collaborative model, beginning on patient admission, to ensure efficient and effective discharge planning.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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Nursing Commons