Dismissal disagreement and discharge delays: Associations of patient–clinician plan of care agreement with discharge outcomes

Emily M. Olson, Samuel D. Falde, Abigail K. Wegehaupt, Eric Polley, Andrew J. Halvorsen, Donna K. Lawson, John T. Ratelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Many hospitalized patients do not understand or agree with their clinicians about their discharge plan. However, the effect of disagreement on discharge outcomes is unknown. Objective: To measure the correlation between patient-clinician care agreement and discharge outcomes. Design: A prospective cohort study was performed from September 2019 to March 2020 (Rochester, MN, USA). Setting and Participants: Internal medicine patients and their primary clinician (resident, advanced practice clinician or attending) hospitalized from September 2019-March 2020 at Mayo Clinic Hospital. Participants were independently surveyed following hospital day #3 ward rounds regarding the goals of the hospitalization and discharge planning. Main Outcome and Measures: Patient–clinician agreement for main diagnosis, patient's main concern, and four domains of discharge planning was assessed. Readiness for hospital discharge, delayed discharge, and 30-day readmission was measured. Then, associations between patient-clinician agreement, delayed discharge, and 30-day readmissions were analyzed using multivariable logistic regression. Results: Of the 436 patients and clinicians, 17.7% completely agreed about what needs to be accomplished before dismissal, 40.8% agreed regarding discharge date, and 71.1% agreed regarding discharge location. In the multivariable model, patient–clinician agreement scores were not significantly correlated with discharge outcomes. Patient–clinician agreement on discharge location was higher for those discharged to home (81.5%) versus skilled nursing facility (48.5%) or assisted living (42.9%) (p <.0001). The agreement on the expected length of stay was highest for home-goers (45.9%) compared to skilled nursing (32.0%) or assisted living (21.4%) (p =.004). Conclusions: Patients and their clinicians frequently disagree about when and where a patient will go after hospitalization, particularly for those discharged to a skilled nursing facility. While disagreement did not predict discharge outcomes, our findings suggest opportunities to improve effective communication and promote shared mental models regarding discharge earlier in the hospital stay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)710-718
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of hospital medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Leadership and Management
  • Fundamentals and skills
  • Health Policy
  • Care Planning
  • Assessment and Diagnosis


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