'I feel like they're actually listening to me': a pilot study of a hospital discharge decision-making conversation guide for patients with injection drug use-associated infections

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Center for Interdisciplinary Population & Health Research

Journal Title

Therapeutic advances in infectious disease


BACKGROUND: The prevalence of injection drug use (IDU)-associated infections and associated hospitalizations has been increasing for nearly two decades. Due to issues ranging from ongoing substance use to peripherally inserted central catheter safety, many clinicians find discharge decision-making challenging. Typically, clinicians advise patients to remain hospitalized for several weeks for intravenous antimicrobial treatment; however, some patients may desire other antimicrobial treatment options. A structured conversation guide, delivered by infectious disease physicians, intended to inform hospital discharge decisions has the potential to enhance patient participation in decisions. We developed a conversation guide in order to: (1) investigate its feasibility and acceptability and (2) examine experiences, outcomes, and lessons learned from use of the guide. METHODS: We interviewed physicians after they each piloted the conversation guide with two patients. We interviewed patients immediately after the conversation and again 4-6 weeks later. Two analysts indexed transcriptions and used the framework method to identify and organize relevant information. We conducted retrospective chart review to corroborate and contextualize qualitative data. RESULTS: Eight patients and four infectious disease physicians piloted the conversation guide. All patients ( = 8) completed antimicrobial treatment. Nearly all participants believed the conversation guide was important for incorporating patient values and preferences. Patients reported an increased sense of autonomy, but felt post-discharge needs could be better addressed. Physician participants identified the guide's long length and inclusion of pain management as areas for improvement. CONCLUSIONS: A novel conversation guide to inform hospital discharge decision-making for patients with IDU-associated infections was feasible, acceptable, and fostered the incorporation of patient preferences and values into decisions. While we identified areas for improvement, overall participants believed that this novel conversation guide helped to improve patient care and autonomy.



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