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Nurses play a critical role in patient safety through their constant presence at the patient's bedside. However, staffing issues and suboptimal working conditions can impede a nurse’s ability to detect and prevent adverse events.
Discharge planning is an essential part of transitions of care, during which patients are often at a higher risk for adverse events and harm. It is important for all healthcare providers to identify risk factors prior to transitioning patients and put plans in place as part of the discharge plan to mitigate harm. Effective discharge planning between the discharging and accepting healthcare teams can help reduce adverse events.
This Primer provides an overview of the history and current status of the patient safety field and key definitions and concepts. It links to other Patient Safety Primers that discuss the concepts in more detail.
Discontinuity is an unfortunate but necessary reality of hospital care. No provider can stay in the hospital around the clock, creating the potential for errors when clinical information is transmitted incompletely or incorrectly between clinicians.
Being discharged from the hospital can be dangerous for patients. Nearly 20% of patients experience an adverse event in the first 3 weeks after discharge, including medication errors, health care–associated infections, and procedural complications.