Background: Prevention of hospital readmission and emergency department (ED) utilization will be a crucial strategy in reducing health care costs. There has been limited research on nurse assessment and patient perceptions of discharge readiness in relation to postdischarge outcomes.
Objectives: To investigate the association of nurse and patient assessments of discharge readiness with postdischarge readmissions and ED visits.
Research design: Hierarchical regression analysis of readmission or ED utilization using independent nurse and patient assessments of discharge readiness and patient characteristics as explanatory variables, with hospital and unit fixed effects.
Subjects: A total of 162 adult medical-surgical patients and their discharging nurses from 13 medical-surgical units of 4 Midwestern hospitals.
Measures: Readiness for Hospital Discharge Scale completed independently by patients and their discharging nurses within 4 hours before hospital discharge; Postdischarge utilization (unplanned readmission or ED visit within 30 days postdischarge).
Results: Correlations between nurse assessment and patient perceptions of discharge readiness were low (r = 0.15-0.32). Nurses rated patient readiness higher than patients themselves. Controlling for patient characteristics, nurse readiness for hospital discharge scale score (odds ratio = 0.57, P = 0.05) but not patient readiness for hospital discharge scale score was associated with postdischarge utilization.
Conclusions: Nurse assessment was more strongly associated with postdischarge utilization than patient self-assessment. Formalizing nurse assessment of discharge readiness could facilitate identification of patients at risk for readmission or ED utilization before discharge when anticipatory interventions could prevent avoidable postdischarge utilization.