JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (March 15, 2022) – On March 8 a new patient discharge lounge opened at Brooke Army Medical Center for patients preparing to leave the hospital.
The lounge is located on the first floor behind the 24-hour Micro Market area in the pediatric hallway. Currently, the service is available Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and can accommodate up to six patients at a time.
“The discharge lounge is an evidenced-based practice intervention to expedite inpatient bed availability,” said Army Col. Jody Brown, deputy commander for inpatient services. “It improves patient throughput by allowing discharged patients to depart their inpatient rooms while awaiting completion of the discharge process or transportation.
“Utilizing the discharge suite allows opportunities for the Emergency Department and other areas of the hospital to transfer patients to inpatient beds and improve the flow of patients throughout the entire hospital,” she added.
The discharge lounge is staffed by a licensed vocational nurse and a certified nursing assistant. Patients must meet certain criteria to safely transition to the lounge.
“The nursing and physician staff have been provided guidelines which includes criteria to ensure the appropriate patients are transitioned to the discharge lounge,” Brown said. “Frequent communication is essential and we’ll continue to keep the team updated as we refine the process.”
The LVN reviews all patients with discharge orders and communicates with the charge nurses on the floors to discuss suitability for the lounge.
Once patients are identified, a positive conversation is conducted with the patient on the transition. The unit nurse contacts the lounge LVN prior to transporting the patient and provides an SBAR (situation, background, assessment and recommendation).
Brown credits Jeffrey Pitman, chief of nursing supervisors, for spearheaded the initiative and being the driving force on bringing the concept from an idea to execution.
“We continue to evolve the aesthetics of the discharge lounge and the overall process to optimize this capability,” Brown said. “We want our patients to have a suitable place to wait for their discharge medication or for someone to come pick them up.”