Emergency rooms in Winnipeg will have a new "checklist" that will help ensure patients are discharged safely, officials announced today.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority made the announcement Thursday, following its investigation into the deaths of two patients at Grace Hospital who had been discharged from the emergency room and sent home by taxi.
Questions have been raised about discharge procedures at Grace Hospital following the deaths in late December of Wayne Miller, 62, and David Silver, 78.
Critical incident reviews of the two patients' deaths did not identify deficiencies in their medical assessments before being discharged, according to the health authority.
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The investigation has recommended the use of a discharge checklist to make sure patients get the support they need once they go home.
"The checklist is meant to be a one page that says, 'Have you talked to the patient about — do they have their keys? Is there somebody at home? Do they wish that person to be contacted? It is a checklist," said WRHA CEO Arlene Wilgosh.
Silver was sent home from Grace Hospital in a taxi on Dec. 31, 2013, but did not make it inside the house. He died on his front porch.
Health officials have said Silver died following a heart-related health complication.
Miller died after being released from the same hospital on Dec. 29, 2013, and was driven by taxi to his home on Arlington Street.
Less than an hour later, a passerby called 911 after seeing a man unconscious on the sidewalk outside the home. Miller was dead before emergency crews arrived.
Miller's brother, John, has said Wayne had a major aneurysm and was signed up for palliative care the night before he died.
“I would like to express, once again, our sincere condolences,” said Wilgosh.
Wilgosh said the investigations of the two men’s deaths found the care they received competent and appropriate.
“The medical assessments were deemed appropriate. These gentlemen deemed competent and the discharges deemed appropriate,” she said.
On Thursday, health authority officials said they are collaborating with taxi companies on patient discharge procedures, and a new taxi voucher system will be set up with instructions for drivers on how to transport patients who may need extra help getting home.
Silver’s nephew Miles Pollock said he thinks more should be done to prevent the type of thing that happened to his uncle from happening again.
“I don't really believe it goes far enough, but I do believe it's a positive step,” said Pollock.