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Identifying barriers to improving the process of discharging patients from hospital

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 October 2006

Ann-Marie Cannaby
Affiliation:
Division of Medicine for the Elderly, Leicester University, Leicester General Hospital, Leicester LE5 4PW, UK
Stuart Graeme Parker
Affiliation:
Division of Medicine for the Elderly, University of Leicester, Leicester General Hospital, Leicester LE5 4PW, UK
Francine Cheater
Affiliation:
Clinical Governance Research and Development Unit, Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Leicester, Leicester General Hospital, Leicester LE5 4PW, UK
Richard Baker
Affiliation:
Clinical Governance Research and Development Unit, Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Leicester, Leicester General Hospital, Leicester LE5 4PW, UK
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Abstract

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Objective: To identify the barriers to successful discharge practices in a general hospital medical service.

Design: Focus groups with health professionals and in depth interviews with patients were used to identify and explore themes arising from the concept of a good discharge. Thematic analysis was undertaken to identify and link the concepts highlighted.

Subjects: Four focus groups (four to ten participants) and ten in depth interviews were conducted. Purposive sampling was used to capture a full range of views.

Main outcome measures: Themes arising from the focus groups and interviews were analysed to examine barriers to effective discharge practice.

Results: Five major themes emerged from the focus group data including; 1) Communication, 2) Teamwork and Roles, 3) The process of discharge and co-ordination 4) Resources, and 5) Time. Patients discussed their experiences, concerns and lack of knowledge, of the discharge process.

Conclusion: The barriers to influencing the discharge process were shown to be complex and interrelated. The way, in which teams work together is an important factor, which appears not to have been addressed in research into discharge interventions. No single strategy or intervention is likely to be successful in changing discharge practice. Future research to improve discharge should focus on combinations of strategies that target local barriers at the level of the individual, team and organization.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
2003 Arnold