Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing
Objective: To identify predictors and outcomes of postpartum mothers' perceptions of their readiness for hospital discharge. Design: A correlational design with path analyses was used to explore predictive relationships among transition theory-related variables. Setting: Midwestern tertiary perinatal center. Participants: One hundred and forty-one mixed-parity postpartum mothers who had experienced vaginal birth or Cesarean delivery of normal healthy infants. Methods: Before hospital discharge, patients completed questionnaires about sociodemographic characteristics, hospitalization factors, quality of discharge teaching, and readiness for discharge. Three weeks postdischarge, mothers were contacted by telephone to collect coping difficulty and health care utilization data. Main Outcome Measures: Readiness for Hospital Discharge Scale, Post-Discharge Coping Difficulty Scale, Utilization of postdischarge services. Results: Quality of discharge teaching, specifically the relative difference in the amount of informational content needed and received and the skills of nurses in delivering discharge teaching, explained 38% of the variance in postpartum mothers' perceptions of discharge readiness. Readiness for discharge scores explained 22% of the variance in postdischarge coping difficulty scores. Nurses' skills in delivery of discharge teaching, coping difficulty, patient characteristics, and birth hospitalization factors were predictive of utilization of family support and postdischarge health care services. Conclusion: A trajectory of influence was evident in the sequential relationships of quality of discharge teaching, readiness for discharge, postdischarge coping, and utilization of family support and health care services. Transitions theory provided a useful framework for conceptualizing and investigating the transition home after childbirth.