BACKGROUND: Acute care nurses have an important role in the discharge planning of older people from hospital to home. However, few nurses understand the changing aged care system or the consequences of poor referral on the lives of older people postdischarge. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: This paper reports the findings of a research project, which aimed to investigate the possibilities for facilitating the transition of older people from hospital to home through improving the working relationship between nurses and members of a multidisciplinary aged care assessment team (ACAT). DESIGN AND METHODS: The paper reports one action research cycle from a larger project. Action research was chosen because its focus on knowledge development and action leads to practical solutions to clinical problems. The research approach included interactive forums designed to facilitate effective collaboration between the nurses and ACAT in the discharge planning of older people. Data collection strategies included audiotapes of ACAT research discussions, field notes, policy documents, referral forms and an evaluation tool. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: The findings illustrate that ward nurses have, at best, a limited knowledge and understanding of the aged care system, its function, or how to access services. They need assistance to develop their knowledge of services available to support older people following discharge. The conduct of interactive forums, which utilize a case study approach, facilitated such knowledge development and empowered the nurses to become more involved in discharge planning. Participation in the forums also facilitated new collaborative partnerships between the nurses and ACAT, which enhanced effective discharge planning. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: The paper outlines practical strategies to support collaboration between ward nurses and community providers and/or multi disciplinary assessment services. It provides a list of key considerations for the development of effective ward/community networks to facilitate the discharge of older people.