Effectiveness of Needs-oriented Hospital Discharge Planning for Caregivers of Patients With Schizophrenia

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Abstract

Hospital discharge planning for clients with schizophrenia reduces client rehospitalization rates and improves their medication adherence. The effectiveness of caregiver participation in hospital discharge planning has seldom been explored. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of caregiver participation in hospital discharge planning for clients with schizophrenia in reducing caregiver burden and improving health status. A quasi-experimental research design was adopted. The research location was in a psychiatric hospital in Northern Taiwan. The target population was caregivers of inpatients with schizophrenia. Nurses served as care coordinators and provided six-step hospital discharge planning services to caregivers. Structured questionnaires were employed to measure caregiver burden and health status. Intervention effect was tested using analysis of covariance in which outcome measure at pretest and selected demographic variables were treated as covariates. A total of 114 caregivers completed pretest and posttest evaluations, with 57 people in each group. A significant difference was found between the experimental and the control group regarding the caregiver burden and health status (P < 0.001) The caregiver burden and health status of the experimental group improved more significantly compared with the control group. The caregiver-involved discharge planning process developed in this study effectively reduced the burden placed on caregivers and improved their health status. Mental health nurses can serve as the main care coordinators for assessment, planning, referral and provision of the required services. Caregiver-involved hospital discharge planning should become part of the routine care process.

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