Discharge Planning

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Discharge planning is an integral part of patient care. CMS is strengthening the current process by providing more specific requirements hospitals need to account for to ensure the discharge plan is patient-centered and reflects the individual patient’s goals, preferences, strengths, post-discharge needs, and potential for risk of readmission. Advisory boxes have been added to interpretive guidelines as examples of best practices. Respiratory therapists’ expertise in assessing the needs of patients with COPD or other chronic conditions such as asthma, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis, and cystic fibrosis, is critical to meeting CMS’ goal to reduce preventable hospital readmissions once the patient is discharged. In comments to CMS, AARC advocated that hospitals include respiratory therapists as part of the multi-disciplinary discharge team for those patients with chronic lung disease and supported inclusion of Respiratory Care Departments in coordinating post-acute care needs. It is imperative that patients who have chronic lung disease be evaluated by respiratory therapists and we encourage RTs to make sure their expertise is utilized as part of the discharge planning.