Exploration of the concept of 'risk' when discharging patients from hospital: A qualitative study

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


There is an inherent level of risk involved in discharging patients from hospital which, in combination with the subjective nature of discharge planning and its reliance on clinical reasoning and experience, can lead to increased anxiety from both clinicians and patients. Given the current shift to shorter length of stays and discharge to ambulatory settings, discharge planning has become an integral aspect of health care.

o explore the concept of risk when discharging patients from rehabilitation hospital from the perspective of clinicians, hospital managers and lawyers.

This was a qualitative descriptive study. Three semi-structured focus groups were conducted with clinicians (n = 21); one-to-one semi-structured interviews and one focus group were conducted with management staff (n = 10); and one-to-one interviews were conducted with hospital lawyers (n = 3). Data were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim, and are being analyzed inductively and thematically. Early emergent themes are reported below.

All participant groups identified that strategies are needed to mitigate the risk inherent in discharge planning. Clinicians perceived there to be substantial individual clinical variation in acceptable risk assessment when discharging patients, and they sought more guidance and frameworks from management regarding acceptable risks. Strategies for risk mitigation included more robust clinical supervision structures and role modeling from senior staff.

This research project explores the concept of risk when discharging patients and offers practical suggestions to mitigate this risk. This project offers a unique perspective by including the perspectives of hospital lawyers and managers in addition to clinicians from a range of disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19
Number of pages1
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
EventOccupational Therapy Australia National Conference and Exhibition 2019: Together Towards Tomorrow - International Convention Centre, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 10 Jul 201912 Jul 2019
Conference number: 28th

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