Reconsidering Against Medical Advice Discharges: Embracing Patient-Centeredness to Promote High Quality Care and a Renewed Research Agenda.
J Gen Intern Med. 2013 Jul 2;
Authors: Alfandre D
Hospital discharges against medical advice (AMA) are common, costly, stigmatizing to patients, and are associated with excess morbidity and mortality. Achieving better quality care for patients discharged AMA has been limited both by the sparse research illuminating how best to care for this challenging patient population, as well as a lack of standards regarding this clinical practice. This paper will review elements of the AMA literature and highlight the gaps, including the predictors of AMA discharge, challenges to high quality informed consent in AMA discharges, problematic aspects of AMA discharge forms, and the stigma associated with patients discharged AMA. These gaps in the evidence base collectively limit the ability to adequately and completely address AMA discharges and improve health care quality. This paper will recommend future directions to answer remaining questions for the field, and offer guidance for providing ethically sound and high quality care for the affected population. Applying the widely accepted principles of patient-centered care and shared decision making to AMA discharges offers the opportunity to improve quality of care and promote ethical health care practice.
PMID: 23818160 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]