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Hospital discharge processes involving older adults living with dementia: An integrated literature review

Aims and objectives: To identify barriers and facilitators to engagement of people with dementia and family carers in planning for discharge from hospital. Background: Hospital discharge can be particularly challenging for older people with dementia. To assist in the development of bespoke discharge processes that address the unique needs of older people with dementia, an integrated review of the literature was undertaken. Design and methods: A four‐stage integrative review framework guided the review. Three search strategies were employed: a computerised database search, a hand search of reference lists and forward citation searching. Paired members of the research team reviewed eligible full‐text papers. The methodological quality of each paper was assessed using the Mixed‐Methods Assessment Tool, followed by data extraction and completion of summary tables. Within and across study analysis and synthesis of study findings was undertaken using thematic synthesis. Results: Fifteen papers were included in the review. Most identified barriers to collaborative discharge processes related to distributed responsibility for discharge, risk averse approaches to discharge, limited family carer confidence, and limited validation of assumptions about family competency to manage at home. Facilitators included supported clinician and family carer engagement, and maintaining independence for activities of daily living. Relevance to clinical practice: Reflective analysis of discharge decisions, focused on risk and possible risk aversion, can assist teams to evaluate the quality of their discharge decisions. The use of formal communication strategies such as a patient/family‐held journal of the hospital experience and a structured family meeting early in the hospital admission can enhance family engagement in discharge planning. Prevention of functional and cognitive decline is emerging as critical to improving hospital discharge outcomes. 

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Journal of Clinical Nursing
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