International journal of older people nursing 2018 03 24() e12192 doi 10.1111/opn.12192
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
To gain an in-depth understanding of the decision-making processes involved in the discharge of older people admitted to hospital from home and discharged to a care home, as described in the case records.
The decision for an older person to move into a care home is significant and life-changing. The discharge planning literature for older people highlights the integral role of nurses in supporting and facilitating effective discharge. However, little research has been undertaken to explore the experiences of those discharged from hospital to a care home or the processes involved in decision-making.
A purposive sample of 10 cases was selected from a cohort of 100 individuals admitted to hospital from home and discharged to a care home. Cases were selected to highlight important personal, relational and structural factors thought to affect the decision-making process. Narrative case studies were created and were thematically analysed to explore the perspectives of each stakeholder group and the conceptualisations of risk which influenced decision-making.
Care home discharge decision-making is a complex process involving stakeholders with a range of expertise, experience and perspectives. Decisions take time and considerable involvement of families and the multidisciplinary team. There were significant deficits in documentation which limit the understanding of the process and the patient’s voice is often absent from case records. The experiences of older people, families and multidisciplinary team members making care home decisions in the hospital setting require further exploration to identify and define best practice.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Nurses have a critical role in the involvement of older people making discharge decisions in hospital, improved documentation of the patient’s voice is essential. Health and social care systems must allow older people time to make significant decisions about their living arrangements, adapting to changing medical and social needs.