Discharge Summary

Explore a detailed guide on a discharge summary, its requirements, examples, and a free downloadable template to streamline patient care transitions.

By Audrey Liz Perez on Apr 08, 2024.

Fact Checked by RJ Gumban.

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What is a Discharge Summary?

A is a comprehensive report created by healthcare providers, typically doctors or nurse practitioners, at the end of a patient's hospital stay or course of treatment. It is an essential communication tool between hospital care teams and primary care or outpatient providers, ensuring seamless continuity of care.

This critical document includes information about the patient's hospital stay, the reason for admission, treatments provided, and the patient's health status at discharge. Additionally, it includes instructions for follow-up care, including medications, lifestyle modifications, and future healthcare appointments.

Given its pivotal role in patient care, a well-crafted discharge summary can improve patient outcomes, reduce readmission rates, and enhance overall healthcare efficiency.

Printable Discharge Summary

Download this Discharge Summary to improve communication when a patient is discharged.

How does it work?

Creating a discharge summary involves multiple steps to ensure all relevant and required information is included. A printable discharge summary template can make this process easier and more consistent.

Step 1

Patient Identification: Begin by filling in the patient's essential information, like name, date of birth, and medical record number.

Step 2

Admission and Discharge Dates: Include the dates the patient was admitted and discharged.

Step 3

Reason for Admission: Detail the primary diagnosis or condition that necessitated hospitalization.

Step 4

Procedures Performed: Describe any surgical or non-surgical procedures done during the hospital stay.

Step 5

Medications Prescribed: List the medications prescribed to the patient at discharge, including dosages and frequency.

Step 6

Patient's Condition at Discharge: Provide a summary of the patient's health status at discharge.

Step 7

Follow-up Care Instructions: Offer detailed instructions for post-hospital care, including medications, dietary restrictions, physical activity recommendations, and future appointments.

Step 8

Hospital Stay Summary: Summarize the patient's course of care during hospitalization, from symptoms and diagnoses to treatments and patient responses.

Discharge Summary Example (Sample)

To illustrate the utility and structure of a discharge summary, we offer a discharge summary PDF example. This example outlines the patient's hospital journey, from admission due to acute illness through treatment and recovery, and finally, the discharge process with follow-up care instructions.

Download this Discharge Summary Example (Sample) here:

Discharge Summary Example (Sample)

When would you use this Template?

A discharge summary template is a vital tool utilized at the end of a patient's hospital stay. Its primary function is to ensure a smooth transition of care from an inpatient hospital setting to an outpatient or home care setting or even to a different healthcare provider. 

This is especially crucial when patients have complex healthcare needs or multiple conditions requiring coordinated care among specialists.

This template serves as a well-organized, concise, and readily accessible document, encapsulating the patient's health journey during their hospitalization. It covers essential aspects like admission reasons, procedures performed, medications prescribed, the patient's health status at discharge, and follow-up care instructions. 

Additionally, a discharge summary provides critical information to caregivers and healthcare professionals continuing care after discharge, ensuring everyone involved has a consistent understanding of the patient's condition and care plan.

It is also an excellent tool for facilitating communication among healthcare entities, including skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, and outpatient providers. The information contained within the summary enables these providers to understand the patient's recent medical history and adjust their care plans accordingly.

In summary, you would use a discharge summary template whenever a patient's care is being transitioned from the hospital to another setting or when the responsibility for the patient's care is being transferred to another healthcare provider. Enhancing clarity, consistency, and compliance with regulations makes the template indispensable in providing high-quality, coordinated patient care.


A discharge summary is a crucial component of effective healthcare, enabling seamless continuity of care from hospital-based treatment to outpatient or primary care. By using a standardized template for discharge summaries, healthcare providers can ensure that all pertinent information is included, reducing the risk of errors or miscommunications. Here, we delve into the key benefits of using a discharge summary template:

1. Improved Care Continuity

A comprehensive discharge summary enables smoother handovers between healthcare professionals. It offers a concise, organized record of the patient's medical history, treatments received, and progress made during hospitalization, thus facilitating continued care in an outpatient setting or by a new provider.

2. Standardization

By using a standardized template, healthcare providers can ensure that all discharge summaries follow the same format, thus improving readability and reducing the chance of critical information being missed or overlooked. This standardization also aids in data analysis and research, as data points are consistently recorded across different summaries.

3. Compliance

Regulatory bodies, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), require what a discharge summary must contain. A template meeting these standards can simplify compliance efforts, ensuring all mandatory information is included and the summary meets the stipulated format.

4. Efficiency

Drafting a discharge summary from scratch can be a time-consuming process. A template streamlines the process, allowing healthcare professionals to complete summaries more quickly, which can be especially beneficial in busy hospital settings. By saving time on paperwork, clinicians can devote more attention to patient care.

5. Patient Safety

The discharge summary is vital to patient safety, particularly during inpatient to outpatient care transition. A clear, comprehensive summary ensures that patients, their families, and their ongoing care providers understand the patient’s health status, what treatments were provided, and what care should be continued or initiated after hospital discharge. This can help prevent misunderstandings or gaps in care that could compromise patient safety.

6. Accessibility

With the availability of a free, printable discharge summary template, all healthcare providers can access a tool that helps them create thorough, standardized discharge summaries regardless of their setting or resources. This can help reduce disparities in care quality and improve overall health outcomes.

Why use Carepatron as your Discharge Summary app?

Carepatron offers an innovative, user-friendly platform perfect for creating, storing, and sharing discharge summaries. This discharge summary software provides a seamless experience, allowing you to focus more on patient care and less on paperwork.

With Carepatron's Discharge Summary app, you can access a variety of templates, including a discharge summary template that meets CMS requirements. All templates are customizable to suit the specific needs of your patients and practice.

Additionally, Carepatron offers secure data protection, ensuring patient information remains confidential. With its robust features and intuitive interface, Carepatron stands out as a comprehensive solution for healthcare documentation needs.

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Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). (2022). Discharge Planning Rule CMS-3317-F. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov

When do you use Discharge Summary?
When do you use Discharge Summary?

Commonly asked questions

When do you use Discharge Summary?

A discharge summary is used after a patient's hospital stay, transitioning them from inpatient to outpatient care or transferring care to another healthcare provider.

What information goes into a Discharge Summary?

A discharge summary includes patient identification, admission and discharge dates, the reason for admission, procedures performed, medications prescribed, patient's condition at discharge, follow-up care instructions, and a summary of the hospital stay.

What does Discharge Summary assess?

A discharge summary assesses the patient's health journey during their hospital stay, including their initial condition, progress, treatment responses, and health status at discharge. It also outlines the plan for ongoing care post-hospitalization.

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