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Appropriate referrals are important in providing high quality, patient-centred care. Here is a refresher to ensure you are following the Referral Consultation standard of practice.
Referrals from all healthcare providers must be considered
As long as it is within a healthcare provider’s scope of practice, regulated members are required to accept valid, thorough referrals from any healthcare provider, not just physicians. For example, it is inappropriate to refuse a referral simply because it comes from a nurse practitioner. When refusing a referral, you must provide reasons, as well as suggestions for alternate care or consultation where possible.
Timely consult reports are fundamental to ongoing patient care
Consult reports, including any plans for the patient’s future care, must be provided within 30 days, regardless of a regulated member’s personal/practice plans (e.g., retirement). The referring healthcare provider needs timely access to a specialist’s report to ensure their ability to care for patients discharged back to them.
Referrals MUST INCLUDE ALL RELEVANT INFORMATION
When making a referral, failure to provide pertinent patient data makes it extremely challenging for specialists to triage referrals appropriately. Additionally, you could potentially be putting your colleagues in the position of accepting incomplete, insufficient or inappropriate referrals, which could put them at risk of unprofessional conduct (e.g., it would be outside the standard requirements for Accreditation if an accredited diagnostic imaging facility accepts poor referrals).
We have updated the Referral Consultation Advice to the Profession to expand upon what information to include in thorough, fulsome referrals: please see page 4 for more information.
Questions? Please contact CPSA’s Standards of Practice Advisor
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