Background. Gaining consumer feedback about nursing care and discharge planning is especially important given the changes that have occurred in acute inpatient mental health facilities. Consumers can best define the quality of the service they receive and surveys are considered to be good sources of information about nursing care and discharge planning.
Aim. The aims of this study were to clarify consumer discharge needs, ascertain consumer perceptions of helpful practice, identify areas that require improvement, identify resources consumers deem important, ascertain satisfaction with specific aspects of services, and obtain baseline data to improve future discharge planning.
Method. Satisfaction-with-services and discharge questionnaires were completed by clients (39 and 45, respectively) prior to discharge from three acute inpatient mental health units over a 2-month period.
Findings. Findings indicated that clients were most satisfied with the respect they received from staff, attention staff gave to concerns and worries, quality of service provided by nurses, way treatment met client needs and overall stay in hospital. The majority of respondents (95%) indicated that their discharge arrangements were explained to them and 90% were satisfied with these. Whilst over two-thirds indicated that the information provided in hospital to assist with discharge had been helpful, they highlighted some areas for service improvement. Resources to prepare them better for discharge included increased contact with consumer consultants and more information about mental health problems, medication and relapse prevention.
Conclusion. This study constitutes another small step towards decreasing the gap between consumer expectations and actual treatment by asking consumers about their perceptions of discharge planning. The findings provide the basis for the development of more appropriate strategies to improve the continuity of services between hospital and community mental health settings.