Discharge against medical advice among children in Oman: A university hospital experience

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: Discharge against medical advice (DAMA) is a major problem in healthcare delivery as it can complicate the health problems from which patients are suffering. The aim of this study was to understand DAMA among children in a tertiary teaching hospital in Oman and to evaluate the documentation of the events in the medical records. Methods: A retrospective survey of the medical records of patients discharged against medical advice over a two-year interval was performed (2004-2006). Results: Of the 11,802 admissions, there were 38 cases of DAMA, giving a prevalence rate of 0.32%. In 39.5% of the cases, the discharge happened within 24 hours of hospital admission. The majority of the cases were infants (n = 24; 63.25%). The diagnosis at discharge in some cases included life-threatening conditions. However, in 57.9% of the cases, the reasons for DAMA were neither reported nor documented in the patients' medical records. Conclusion: Although the results of this study yielded a low prevalence rate compared to the rates reported in other studies, the occurrence of DAMA for children in a tertiary hospital is a distressing phenomenon. It was evident that the documentation of the DAMA process was poor. More studies should be conducted to understand the details of the problem. Policies should be established and implemented in order to attempt to reduce DAMA among child patients and to protect them from the consequences of such discharges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-538
Number of pages5
JournalSultan Qaboos University Medical Journal
Volume13
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

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Oman
Medical Records
Tertiary Care Centers
Documentation
Teaching Hospitals
Delivery of Health Care
Health

Keywords

  • Children
  • Hospitals
  • Oman
  • Patient discharge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

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title = "Discharge against medical advice among children in Oman: A university hospital experience",
abstract = "Objectives: Discharge against medical advice (DAMA) is a major problem in healthcare delivery as it can complicate the health problems from which patients are suffering. The aim of this study was to understand DAMA among children in a tertiary teaching hospital in Oman and to evaluate the documentation of the events in the medical records. Methods: A retrospective survey of the medical records of patients discharged against medical advice over a two-year interval was performed (2004-2006). Results: Of the 11,802 admissions, there were 38 cases of DAMA, giving a prevalence rate of 0.32{\%}. In 39.5{\%} of the cases, the discharge happened within 24 hours of hospital admission. The majority of the cases were infants (n = 24; 63.25{\%}). The diagnosis at discharge in some cases included life-threatening conditions. However, in 57.9{\%} of the cases, the reasons for DAMA were neither reported nor documented in the patients' medical records. Conclusion: Although the results of this study yielded a low prevalence rate compared to the rates reported in other studies, the occurrence of DAMA for children in a tertiary hospital is a distressing phenomenon. It was evident that the documentation of the DAMA process was poor. More studies should be conducted to understand the details of the problem. Policies should be established and implemented in order to attempt to reduce DAMA among child patients and to protect them from the consequences of such discharges.",
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