Discharge planning from emergency department to home; professionals and informal caregivers perspective.

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Discharge planning is a series of activities employed to aid in smooth transition of patients from hospital. It includes assessment, education of patients and relatives, and informal caregivers’ involvement. Emergency department discharge planning promotes patient and family satisfaction and reduces the rate at which patient are readmitted. The study aimed at exploring discharge planning from the perspectives of professionals and informal caregivers. The study used qualitative method approach with convenience sampling method to select 10 healthcare professionals and 12 informal caregivers to participate in the research. A semi structured interview guide was used to acquire the right responses from the participants. The results from the study proved that health care professionals have some knowledge on discharge planning but did not practice it. There was also absence of protocols and guidelines to guide discharge planning at the emergency department. The professionals educated only patients with diabetes and hypertensive cases. Interaction and communication flow between healthcare professionals and informal caregiver did not seem to be adequate. Informal caregivers therefore felt left out of discharge planning. Inadequate number of staff and limited facility with their attendant overcrowding and heavy workloads served as barriers to effective discharge planning at the department. The consensus between the professionals and informal caregivers on the presence of patient related, staff related and hospital related barriers to discharge planning is a worrying situation. This needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency if stakeholders wish to have effective healthcare delivery at the emergency department. It is therefore imperative for discharge planning to be regarded as a daily activity at the ward. Protocols and guidelines on discharge planning also need to be designed and made available to staff to enhance effective health care delivery at the department. In designing discharge planning, professionals need to regard informal caregivers’ involvement as relevant.
Thesis submitted to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the Award of Mphil Nursing Degree.
Discharge, Emergency, Planning, Caregivers perspective