Caregiver and Clinician Perspectives on Discharge Medication Counseling: A Qualitative Study

Hosp Pediatr. 2023 Apr 1;13(4):325-342. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2022-006937.


Objectives: Children are at increased risk for medication errors and the transition from hospital-to-home is a vulnerable time for errors to occur. This study aimed to explore the perspectives of multidisciplinary clinicians and caregivers regarding discharge medication counseling and to develop a conceptual model to inform intervention efforts to reduce discharge medication dosing errors.

Methods: We conducted semistructured interviews with clinicians and caregivers of children <4 years old discharged from the hospital on a liquid medication. A hierarchical coding system was developed using the interview guide and several transcripts. Qualitative analysis employed an iterative inductive-deductive approach to identify domains and subthemes and inform a conceptual framework.

Results: We conducted focus groups and individual interviews with 17 caregivers and 16 clinicians. Using the Donabedian structure-process-outcomes model of quality evaluation, domains and subthemes included: (1) infrastructure of healthcare delivery, including supplies for counseling, content and organization of discharge instructions, clinician training and education, roles and responsibilities of team members, and hospital pharmacy delivery and counseling program; (2) processes of healthcare delivery, including medication reconciliation, counseling content, counseling techniques, and language barriers and health literacy; and (3) measurable outcomes, including medication dosing accuracy and caregiver understanding and adherence to discharge instructions.

Conclusions: The conceptual model resulting from this analysis can be applied to the development and evaluation of interventions to reduce discharge medication dosing errors following a hospitalization. Interventions should use a health literacy universal precautions approach-written materials with plain language and pictures and verbal counseling with teach-back and show-back.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers* / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Counseling
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control
  • Patient Discharge*