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VA National Center for Patient Safety


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The Daily Plan®

 A patient and health care provider discuss patient's Daily Plan®

Discussing the Daily Plan®


The Daily Plan® enhances patient safety by involving patients in their care; a single document is discussed with the patient that outlines what can be expected on a specific day of hospitalization.

By importing provider orders from the VA electronic health record into a health summary, patients receive an itinerary for each day in a single printed document. The Daily Plan® is essentially a road map that lets patients see, in black and white, what’s going to happen to them on a particular day.

A facility or nursing unit can customize the document and include a number of relevant items:

  • Diagnostic tests
  • Medications
  • Nutrition
  • Appointments
  • Allergies

The plan encourages patients and their families to better understand their care; patient involvement is an integral aspect of the program. Patients are encouraged to ask questions if something seems different than planned, which enables them to become more active members of their healthcare team.

Potential errors can be prevented when nurses and patients review The Daily Plan® together. By doing so, the patient and the healthcare team are able to recognize and correct any discrepancies. These can include errors of omission or commission.

The patient is the only constant in the health care systems that is always present and yet least likely to be included as a resource. The Daily Plan® changes that!


The initial pilot of The Daily Plan® received positive responses from patients and staff during the evaluation periods of 2007/2008, at five VA hospitals. This prompted further attention and NCPS began Phase 2 of the pilot program in 2009. In Phase 2, evaluations were completed by 198 hospitalized patients and 85 nurses.

  • Nearly seventy five percent of the patients agreed or strongly agreed that having the plan made it easier for them to ask questions, increased their understanding of their hospital stay, helped them feel more comfortable and provided them with information that helped improve their care.
  • Over forty seven percent of the patients reported that either they or their family member found and asked about a discrepancy in their planned care. Patients received The Daily Plan® an average of 5 days in the hospital.
  • Nurses were asked to reflect upon their assigned patients receiving the plan during their shift and completed a single end-of-shift accumulated evaluation. Over seventeen percent of the nursing evaluations reported one or more errors/shift was detected.
  • Nurses found that reviewing The Daily Plan® with their patients was an appropriate use of their time and took approximately 10 minutes or less.

Additional Information

Healthcare professionals may also be interested in this publication. Nursing Management, March 2012, page 15-18: The Daily Plan®: Including patients for safety’s sake by Beth J. King, BSN, RN, CCM; Peter D. Mills, PhD, MS; Amanda Fore, MS

VA employees can access the virtual VeHU presentation for The Daily Plan®: The instructions for viewing are as follows:

  • Go to 
  • If you have not yet enrolled, please do so at this point.
  • For those that have already enrolled, just sign in.
  • Go to the "on demand" section and then hit the "play" button for The Daily Plan: Know-Ask-Participate course.

You will also have the ability to download the PowerPoint as well as the notes.