The Family Perspective on Hospital to Home Transitions: A Qualitative Study
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Transitions from the hospital to home can be difficult for patients and families. Family-informed characterization of this vulnerable period may facilitate the identification of interventions to improve transitions home. Our objective was to develop a comprehensive understanding of hospital-to-home transitions from the family perspective.
METHODS: Using qualitative methods, focus groups and individual interviews were held with caregivers of children discharged from the hospital in the preceding 30 days. Focus groups were stratified based upon socioeconomic status. The open-ended, semistructured question guide included questions about communication and understanding of care plans, transition home, and postdischarge events. Using inductive thematic analysis, investigators coded the transcripts, resolving differences through consensus.
RESULTS: Sixty-one caregivers participated across 11 focus groups and 4 individual interviews. Participants were 87% female and 46% nonwhite; 38% were the only adult in their household, and 56% resided in census tracts with ≥15% of residents living in poverty. Responses from participants yielded a conceptual model depicting key elements of families’ experiences with hospital-to-home transitions. Four main concepts resulted: (1) “In a fog” (barriers to processing and acting on information), (2) “What I wish I had” (desired information and suggestions for improvement), (3) “Am I ready to go home?” (discharge readiness), and (4) “I’m home, now what?” (confidence and postdischarge care).
CONCLUSIONS: Transitions from hospital to home affect the lives of families in ways that may affect patient outcomes postdischarge. The caregiver is key to successful transitions, and the family perspective can inform interventions that support families and facilitate an easier re-entry to the home.
- Accepted September 9, 2015.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics