, Volume 76, Issue 4, pp 297-315

The role of relatives in discharge planning from psychiatric hospitals: The perspective of patients and their relatives

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This study prospectively assessed the preferences and satisfaction of 98 psychiatric inpatients and 40 of their relatives with family involvement in discharge planning. Preferences questionnaires were administered during hospitalization. Satisfaction questionnaires were completed 3 months later. Preferences noted by most participants included information concerning patient health status, ways to prevent further hospitalizations, services for relatives, and signs of patient decompensation. More relatives than patients felt that post-discharge residence and activities were important areas to be involved in. Most participants were satisfied if relatives were involved in discharge planning. However, up to 89% of patients, and 84% of relatives, reported no communication between clinical staff and relatives regarding discharge. When this was the case, satisfaction rates dropped sharply, especially for relatives. The need for increased communication between clinicians and relatives regarding discharge planning remains a problem.