Discharge of older patients with chronic diseases: What nurses do and what they record. An observational study
Aim and Objetives
To describe which nursing activities are observed during the discharge of older patients with chronic diseases and to investigate the consistency between the nursing activities actually observed and those documented.
The discharge from hospital of older patients with chronic diseases is a critical transition that can lead to dissatisfaction, delays in discharge, re‐admission, adverse events and increased mortality. Although nurses’ interventions during discharge are important for patient outcomes, little is known about the nursing activities actually performed as compared with those documented.
An observational study of the nursing activities performed during patients’ discharge and a retrospective audit of the nursing records of the same patients and nurses.
Structured nonparticipant observations were conducted of the activities performed by nurses at discharge. A retrospective audit of the nursing records relating to patient discharge, including the nursing diary and the assessment of critical issues at hospital discharge, was also conducted. The STROBE guidelines were followed (See Supporting Information Appendix S2).
During hospital discharge of 102 patients, 1,224 nursing activities were observed. The number of activities was not related to patients’ age, gender and educational level, nor to nurses’ postgraduate education. Statistically significant correlations emerged between the number of activities observed and the nurses’ work experience.
A predefined discharge plan guiding nurses’ activities during discharge would enable them to respond better to the care needs of elderly patients.
Relevance to clinical practice
Results from the study could help clinical nurses to address care priorities of patients at discharge, by using appropriate plans and checklists and improving recording rates. Novice nurses should be supported when caring for elderly patients with chronic disease at discharge.