Informal carer support needs, facilitators and barriers in transitional care for older adults from hospital to home: A scoping review

Jacqueline Allen, Marta Woolford, Patricia M. Livingston, Michelle Lobchuk, Anne Muldowney, Alison M. Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To synthesise evidence about informal carers' (carers) experience of their support needs, facilitators and barriers regarding transitional care of older adults with multimorbidity. Background: Carers provide crucial support for older adults during care transitions. Although health practitioners are well positioned to support carers, system factors including limited healthcare resources can compromise the quality of care transitions. Design: Scoping review. Methods: Searches were undertaken of the published literature. Five databases were searched including MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Library. Two reviewers independently screened articles to identify relevant studies. Studies were retrieved from January 2000 to July 2022. Data were extracted and tabulated for study characteristics, support needs, facilitators and barriers. Key themes and patterns were synthesised across the studies. Results: Eighteen studies including N = 3174 participants were retrieved. Most studies (n = 13) employed qualitative designs. Five studies used surveys. Carers reported their need to: be involved in coordinated discharge planning; advocate and be involved in decision-making; and receive community-based follow-up. Carers described facilitators and barriers in four themes: (1) relationships with the older adult and health practitioners, (2) being involved in coordinated discharge planning; (3) communication and information strategies; and (4) community-based follow-up. Synthesis of themes across all studies resulted in the identification of five areas of research: carers' health literacy; community-based care; carers' involvement in transitional care planning; inpatient and community health practitioners' communication skills; and culturally diverse carers' experiences. Conclusion and Relevance to Clinical Practice: The review highlights the importance of quality communication and relationships between carers, older adults, health practitioners and health organisations. Although information and education are important there is a need for further research to examine systems that support communication between carers, older adults and health practitioners and health literacy for all carers including culturally diverse carers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6773-6795
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number19-20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • discharge and transitional care
  • family caregivers
  • informal carers
  • multimorbidity
  • older adults
  • scoping review
  • unpaid carers

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