Study objective: We conduct a systematic review with meta-analysis to provide an overview of the different manners of providing discharge instructions in the emergency department (ED) and to assess their effects on comprehension and recall of the 4 domains of discharge instructions: diagnosis, treatment, follow-up, and return instructions.
Methods: We performed a systematic search in the PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science Google Scholar, and Cochrane databases for studies published before March 15, 2018. A quality assessment of included articles was performed. Pooled proportions of correct recall by manner of providing discharge instructions were calculated.
Results: A total of 1,842 articles were screened, and after selection, 51 articles were included. Of the 51 included studies, 12 used verbal discharge instructions only, 30 used written discharge instructions, and 7 used video. Correct recall of verbal, written, and video discharge instructions ranged from 8% to 94%, 23% to 92%, and 54% to 89%, respectively. Meta-analysis was performed on data of 1,460 patients who received verbal information only, 3,395 patients who received written information, and 459 patients who received video information. Pooled data showed differences in correct recall, with, on average, 47% for patients who received verbal information (95% confidence interval 32.2% to 61.7%), 58% for patients who received written information (95% confidence interval 44.2% to 71.2%), and 67% for patients who received video information (95% confidence interval 57.9% to 75.7%).
Conclusion: Communicating discharge instructions verbally to patients in the ED may not be sufficient. Although overall correct recall was not significantly higher, adding video or written information to discharge instructions showed promising results for ED patients.
Copyright © 2019 American College of Emergency Physicians. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.