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Discharging older people from hospital to care homes: implications for nursing

Authors


JanReed Faculty of Health, Social Work and Education, University of Northumbria at Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7XA, UK. Tel: 0191 2274219; Fax: 0191 3026; E-mail: Jan.Reed@UNN.ac.uk

Abstract

Discharging older people from hospital to care homes: implications for nursing¶This paper summarizes a research study which explored the experiences of older people being discharged from hospital to nursing and residential homes in the North East of England. While there has been considerable research which has looked at the discharge of patients from hospital to their own homes, little literature could be found which addressed discharge to care homes. While this may reflect an assumption that this form of discharge is less problematic, it is arguable that this is only the case for staff — there is a body of literature on re-location which suggests that the move to a care home is a major life event for older people. Taking a qualitative approach, this study interviewed 20 older people and 17 of their family members after discharge from hospital to a care home. We found that few people had been offered opportunities to discuss their move with nurses, and that older people tended to adopt a stoical attitude. In focus groups, interviews and written responses from 23 members of staff in the hospital and in care homes, we found that there was a lack of clarity over whose role it was to initiate such discussions. The paper concludes with some discussion of the implications for nursing practice of changing care interfaces.

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