Document Type




Format of Original

12 p.

Publication Date



Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

Source Publication

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Source ISSN



Purpose: The purpose of the study was to identify predictors and outcomes of adult medical-surgical patients' perceptions of their readiness for hospital discharge.

Design: A correlational, prospective, longitudinal design with path analyses was used to explore relationships among transition theory-related variables.

Setting: Midwestern tertiary medical center.

Sample: 147 adult medical-surgical patients.

Methods: Predictor variables included patient characteristics, hospitalization factors, and nursing practices that were measured prior to hospital discharge using a study enrollment form, the Quality of Discharge Teaching Scale, and the Care Coordination Scale. Discharge readiness was measured using the Readiness for Hospital Discharge Scale administered within 4 hours prior to discharge. Outcomes were measured 3 weeks postdischarge with the Post-Discharge Coping Difficulty Scale and self-reported utilization of health services.

Findings: Living alone, discharge teaching (amount of content received and nurses' skill in teaching delivery), and care coordination explained 51% of readiness for discharge score variance. Patient age and discharge readiness explained 16% of variance in postdischarge coping difficulty. Greater readiness for discharge was predictive of fewer readmissions.

Conclusions: Quality of the delivery of discharge teaching was the strongest predictor of discharge readiness. Study results provided support for Meleis' transitions theory as a useful model for conceptualizing and investigating the discharge transition.

Implications for Practice: The study results have implications for the CNS role in patient and staff education, system building for the postdischarge transition, and measurement of clinical care outcomes.


Accepted version. Clinical Nurse Specialist, Vol. 21, No. 1 (January 2007): 31-42. Permalink. © Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. 2007. Used with permission.

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