The American Nurses Association (ANA) defined discharge planning as, "part of the continuity of care process which is designed to prepare the patient for the next phase of care and to assist in making any necessary arrangements for that phase of care" (Rose, 2010, P. 47). Discharge planning is a continued and ongoing process that allows the health care team to bring the patient to an appropriate level of care. Significant amounts of research supports that preparing the family for discharge has become more complex over the last several years. According to researcher Cheryl Kornburger (2013) “The current emphasis on shorter hospital stays results in patients and their caregivers being discharged from the hospital with much more complex and complicated home care instructions” (Kornburger, 2013 p 282). To tackle this problem the importance of “Teach Back” or return demonstration in discharge instruction was highlighted. This method helps the nursing staff to validate the understanding of information presented to the patient prior to being discharged.
Review of the Research Literature
One of the most important elements in discharge teaching is the concept of health literacy. This can be defined as: “…the ability of the patient to understand and obtain basic health information services,” (Kornburger, 2013 p. 288). This information is to help patient better understand about their illness and treatment. Another research done by Weiss (2007) states that, “The relationship between limited health literacy and poorer health occurs in all socioeconomic groups and in many disease states”. This researcher also adds that 89 to 90 million adults in the United States have limited health literacy. Given this data, it is possible that nurses may meet patients every day who have trouble understanding health information. Consequently it is vital to make sure the patient fully understands their discharge instructions. They should be well informed about how to carry out their treatment effectively. Patients should be fully aware of their circumstances, incorporating medication, diagnosis, and disease process and about intervention accordingly. As a result of the lack of literacy, patients can develop serious complications due to lack of education about medication side effects, illness and not knowing how to manage their sicknesses in general.
Lack of discharge education can lead to problems that patients can experience post discharge complication. The optimal goal for every patient should be providing clear discharge instruction with the language the patient can understand. Understanding and memorizing the hospital discharge instruction can be very challenging for a patient. Making sure the patient understands and absorbs their discharge teaching is crucial. This is for the best interest of the patient and the hospital as well. The hospital should be able to discharge patients with a well-organized plan to prevent unnecessary re-hospitalization. ...