The aim of the study was to identify patterns of physical, psychological, and social conditions that may be of prognostic value when it comes to assessing continued care of patients clinically ready for discharge; a related aim was to evaluate instruments used for this identification, especially a Swedish version of the health assessment form. The sample consisted of 53 consecutive patients (mean age 82.8 years, SD = 6.6 years) All patients came from their own homes and were admitted to surgical and orthopaedic departments. Interviews were carried out on the day the patients were assessed as medically ready for discharge, and a second time 1 month later. The health assessment form measured the persons' social and environmental situation, health history, and functional health status, and another instrument measured the persons' sense of coherence. Few significant differences in functional health status were noted between persons who could return to their homes (n = 25) and persons who were referred to institutions after discharge (n = 17). However, the persons being referred to institutions showed less favourable scores within the areas of mood, sense of coherence, and worries about their home accommodation situation. When another sub-group was included (patients who died between the interview occasions; n = 8), significant differences were also noted in the health functions breathing, digestion, elimination, and body movement. Sense of coherence had a significant prognostic value for the continued care after discharge irrespective of whether the deceased patients were included or not.