Can Geriatr J. 2023 Sep 1;26(3):326-338. doi: 10.5770/cgj.26.661. eCollection 2023 Sep.
BACKGROUND: Discharge summaries are important educational tools, guiding trainees in their collection and documentation of data. As geriatric competencies are integrated in medical curricula, documentation on in-patient geriatric rotations should represent the unique care and education provided, yet often follow generic templates. What content should be included in a geriatric discharge summary has not previously been explored and was the purpose of this study.
METHODS: A mixed-methods, designed-based research approach was used to assess note quality on a geriatric in-patient unit and iteratively co-develop a template with examples through three phases: 1) needs assessment, 2) consensus building, and 3) template development.
RESULTS: Sixty-eight discharge summaries were assessed by five geriatricians, with 14 gaps identified. Many of these reflected elements that were present but addressed generically without attention to the specificity required from a geriatric perspective. In response, the team developed a geriatric-specific template with explicit examples. Through the consensus process three barriers to quality notes and trainee education were identified: the chronic state of low-quality notes being accepted as the norm, time limitations due to the high volume of patients, and high volume of clinical documents.
CONCLUSIONS: The identification of gaps in geriatric discharge summaries allowed for the co-development of an instructional template and examples that goes beyond simple headings and highlights the importance of applying and documenting geriatric competencies. Although we encourage others to take up and modify the tools for trainees in their local context, more importantly, we encourage them to take up the dialogue about note quality.