Time Management – Hospital Wards

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  • Develop discharge plan at time of admission and book in resources e.g. alternative accommodation, community supports etc
  • Conduct consultant rounds early in the day to allow time for decisions to be carried out during office hours when plentiful staff available
  • Drop off lab and imaging requests early in the day
  • Request consults early in the day
  • Anticipate discharges 48 hours in advance
  • Establish discharge criteria the evening before morning round
  • Request discharge medication the evening before and book transport for early pick up
  • Request morning blood specimens ‘urgent’ for potential discharges
  • Let ward team know of plan in advance e.g. ward nurse, ward clerk
  • Begin ward rounds on patients anticipated to be discharged that morning
  • Send patients to discharge lounge prior to transport


  • Attempting to form discharge plan the night before
  • Conducting rounds at the end of the day when it is too late to do anything meaningful
  • Leaving important work to be done at the end of the day
  • Not being clear about discharge criteria
  • Waiting until next consultant ward round to discharge patient
  • Ordering discharge drugs at last moment
  • Placing review of patients and lab tests at the end of day
  • Conduct ward round in bed order or on long-stay patients first
  • Hold stable and dischargeable patients on the ward prior to transport

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