Caregiver readiness for hospital discharge of an older adult

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Galvin, Eileen
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University College Cork
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Aim: To explore caregiver readiness for the hospital discharge of an older adult. Background: Older adults rely on their caregivers during hospital discharge. However, caregivers are not routinely included in discharge preparation. Caregivers’ experiences of hospital discharge have been studied retrospectively between one week and three months. However, no study used the attributes of readiness to guide the research and none of the caregivers were interviewed within twenty-four hours of hospital discharge when experiences are foremost in their minds. Method: The study was qualitative descriptive. Using the attributes of readiness for hospital discharge to develop an interview guide, nine semi-structured interviews with caregivers took place within 24 hours of hospital discharge during the summer of 2017. Data were analysed using content analysis. Findings: The findings that emerged from the data are presented under the four attributes of readiness for hospital discharge: Caregivers’ physical readiness, Caregivers’ psychological readiness, Support for caregivers and Information and knowledge. An overarching category of “Wanting to do what’s best” also emerged. Findings highlight that overall, caregivers are not ready to take the older adult home from hospital. In addition, low referral rates of older adults to PHN services were highlighted. Conclusion: The results of this unique study provide a picture of the current state of caregiver readiness for the hospital discharge of an older adult. In addition, the need for early preparation of caregivers for the hospital discharge of an older adult is highlighted which includes early referral to PHN services. Impact: Nursing staff require focused education on the preparation of caregivers for hospital discharge. In addition, development of a tool to assess caregiver physical and psychological readiness is necessary. Further research and assessment of caregivers longitudinally will give more insight into caregiver needs, experience and progress. Ultimately, ensuring caregivers are ready for hospital discharge of an older adult will assist older adults remaining at home, which is ultimately where they want to be.
Hospital discharge , Caregivers , Older adult , Readiness
Galvin, E. 2020. Caregiver readiness for hospital discharge of an older adult. MRes Thesis, University College Cork.
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