CanMeds Communicator
Discharge Summaries

Discharge Summaries



Discharge summaries are an important tool for communication between hospital based health care providers and community based primary health care providers.  Family physicians, in particular, read discharge summaries closely to keep up to date with a patient’s hospital based care.


The following components should be included in discharge summaries:

  • changes in medication and a list of final discharge medications

  • follow-up plans- be specific

  • significant imaging or laboratory results in hospital

  • responsibility for ongoing followup of active issue including things like INRs

  • you do not need to give a play by play of the entire 2 month admission, but need to summarize the major issues and outcomes

  • sometimes it is helpful  to draft an outline of what you would like to include.  Most institutions now have template to use.