Discharge planning: an exploratory study

J Clin Nurs. 2000 Jul;9(4):594-601. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2702.2000.00384.x.


The desire to reduce the length of waiting lists in the modern health service means that strategies for decreasing the length of hospital stay are exercising the minds of service planners. This has led to renewed emphasis on well planned discharge policies and procedures. The aim of this study was to analyse all discharge policies and procedures currently in use in one large integrated NHS trust in Northern Ireland and formulate a Corporate Discharge Policy for general use in NHS trusts. Objectives of the study included examining the current process of discharge, reviewing the interface between ward staff and district nursing services and examining the quality and standard of documentation in use. Findings indicate the need for standardization of the discharge planning process and sufficient notice of discharge, and for clarification and education regarding staff roles, the importance of multidisciplinary working, and the lack of quality communication between acute and community services.

MeSH terms

  • Hospitals, Public*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Northern Ireland
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Organizational Policy*
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Pilot Projects