Aim: To evaluate the effects of an educational program on discharge planning for staff nurses that was developed to improve their knowledge, attitudes, and practice as well as the organizational climate regarding discharge planning.
Methods: Quasi-experimental design was used. Participants were 256 staff nurses on general internal medicine units in a 1210-bed national university hospital in the Tokyo area. Two groups were studied: an education group consisting of 102 nurses from 4 units and a control group consisting of 154 nurses from 6 units. The 3-month education program included study meetings, periodic conferences, and home visits following discharge. The control group received no education. Both groups answered an anonymous self-administered questionnaire before and after the intervention period. For post-intervention group comparisons, analysis of covariance was used.
Results: We analyzed the data obtained from 87 education group nurses (response rate: 85.3%) and 104 control group nurses (response rate: 67.5%). In the education group, knowledge increased post intervention regarding home visiting nursing services, the hospital discharge planning department, and two relevant Japanese laws related to discharge planning. In addition, the education group showed improvement in attitudes towards discharge planning. Likewise, co-workers' recognition of discharge planning needs and their support for discharge planning were significantly improved in education-group units compared with control-group units.
Conclusion: This education program was successful in strengthening knowledge of various systems related to discharge planning, improving the nurses' attitudes towards discharge planning, and impacting the climate of entire units; therefore, it was found to be effective.