The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority will create an emergency department discharge checklist to make sure patients make it home safely.
It will also give cabbies, starting as early as next month, specific instructions on how they can help a patient get home if their only way home is by taxi.
The two new measures are in response to two deaths about a month ago of two men who had been discharged from the Grace Hospital, but died shortly after getting out of their taxis.
WRHA president and CEO Arlene Wilgosh, and Lori Lamont, vice-president of interprofessional practice and chief nursing officer, said today that a internal review of the two deaths has to date found no deficiencies in how each were treated and assessed before being discharged.
"The medical assessments were deemed appropriate," Wilgosh said. "These gentlemen were deemed competent and the discharges were deemed appropriate."
Wayne Miller, 62, was discharged from Grace Hospital at about 8:25 a.m. Dec. 29 and driven home by taxi. At about 9 a.m., residents in the 100 block of Arlington Street discovered the man lying unresponsive on the sidewalk. He suffered an aneurysm and died. On Dec. 31, David Silver, 78, died after being dropped off at home by a cab at about 1:30 a.m. wearing a coat over his pyjamas and bedroom slippers. He had just been discharged from the Grace Hospital emergency room, where he was diagnosed with kidney stones and gallstones and told to see his family doctor. He had a heart attack moments after the cab pulled away. His housekeeper found him later that day lying a short distance from his front door.
However, Wilgosh said the two incidents did show the WHRA had to enhance its patient discharge process.
She said the health authority will pilot a regional emergency department checklist to augment its safe patient discharge guidelines.
"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 will also allow the WRHA to monitor if the discharge guidelines are being followed.
"It will become part of the patient record," Wilgosh said.
The WRHA, in discussions with the taxicab industry, will also enlist the help of cab drivers to make sure a discharged patients gets home safely.
It will see drivers being given instructions that the patient needs help to the front door and inside their residence.
"The taxi driver will come into the emergency (department) and there will be that communication and we will also ensure that the discussion between the cab driver and the health-care provider, that that information is also shared with the patient so that all three parties are actually clear what the plan is for the safe trip home," Lamont said.