Monday, October 29, 2012

Patient Refusal to Leave the Hospital: And Now What?

The hospital and the life there leads to sometimes different views among patients. Most patients want to "get the job done" whatever the reason for admission was and what procedures were carried out, to feel better and get on the road to complete recovery and then once the "job was done" to be discharged. There are some patients who for one reason or another want to leave the hospital prematurely "against medical advice" and will get up and leave, maybe without even giving the medical staff an opportunity to offer some final instructions. And then there are the small group of patients, for various motivations either understandable by others or not, who have decided not to leave and refuse to leave the hospital when they can be safely discharged by their physicians and are told it is time to leave.

The physicians, nurses and hospital staff are faced with a dilemma of a patient refusing to leave regarding how to professionally, ethically, humanistically get the patient out of the bed, out of the room and out of the hospital when no further hospital treatment is necessary and there are other patients needing hospitalization and a hospital bed waiting in the emergency room for admission.  For the professionals, this demand by the patient to remain a hospitalized patient against recommendations for discharge is frustrating, emotionally upsetting and presenting uncertainty as to how to handle the situation.

I present this real hospital dilemma to you, my visitors, to get your take on this variation of patient behavior and how you, speaking from the point of view of a patient, not part of the hospital medical staff or administration would handle it.  Any suggestions? ..Maurice.

Graphic: From Google Images and modified by me using ArtRage and Picasa3.