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Patients' perceptions of early supported discharge for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a qualitative study


Objective To explore patients' views of an early supported discharge service for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Intervention Early supported discharge service (EDS) with discharge at 3.5 days (average length of stay for COPD at the time was 9.5 days). After discharge, patients were visited at home daily for 3 days by a nurse from the early discharge service and then, as required, up to 2 weeks.

Participants Purposive, maximum variation sample of 23 mainly older, retired patients admitted to hospital with an acute exacerbation of COPD in 2005. 14 patients listed as receiving EDS, and 9 listed as refusing EDS.

Design Qualitative analysis of audiotaped, semistructured, face-to-face interviews.

Setting Economically deprived inner-city borough in England.

Results (1) Negotiation and consent. Patients had little recall of being approached to join the scheme. They often felt they had been discharged from hospital before they were ready. They were often unable or unwilling to negotiate timing of discharge with hospital staff. (2) Process of discharge from hospital. Patients experienced difficulties with transport home and supplies of medication. (3) Life at home after a hospital admission. Resuming life at home after an admission for an acute exacerbation for COPD was difficult. Not all patients found the home nursing component of the service helpful.

Conclusions Early supported discharge with domiciliary care is a model that ought to promote a more equal partnership between patient and healthcare, but this did not appear to be the case in practice.

  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive[MeSH]
  • patient discharge [MeSH]
  • hospital at home
  • patient-centred care [MeSH]
  • qualitative
  • length of stay [MeSH]

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