Survey of current pre-discharge home visiting practices of occupational therapists Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND/AIM: Discharge planning frequently involves occupational therapy pre-discharge home visiting as one component of intervention. Pre-discharge home visits aim to maximise a person's functional performance within the context of their home and community environment, bridging the transition between hospital and home. The aim of this study was to describe the pre-discharge home visiting practices of occupational therapy departments. METHODS: This descriptive study used a postal survey which was sent to occupational therapists in 215 public and privately funded hospitals in New South Wales, Australia. The survey enquired about the number of pre-discharge home visits completed per month, who went on visits and time spent on visits. Descriptive statistics were used in analyses. RESULTS: Surveys were returned by occupational therapists from 53 departments, representing a response rate of 25%. Respondents estimated that they conducted approximately 13 pre-discharge home visits per month (range: 1-60). Visits were estimated to take an average of 1 hour and 20 minutes (excluding travel time). Approximately one-quarter of respondents felt that there was pressure to reduce the number of pre-discharge home visits conducted. Using their local hospital records, nine hospital departments estimated that the number of home visits completed per month had reduced by 50% compared with the number of home visits five years previously. DISCUSSION: Findings suggest a wide variation in current pre-discharge home visiting practice. There is a need for well-designed clinical trials that investigate the effectiveness of these costly and time-consuming visits on functional performance.

publication date

  • June 2011