Factors that enhance or impede critical care nurses’ discharge planning practices Academic Article uri icon


  • Any illness that is serious enough to require admission to the critical care unit will intensify the physical and psychological effects that the patient and their significant others experience. Hence, the discharge needs of patients admitted to critical care are unquestionably complex, diverse and dynamic.Utilising an exploratory descriptive approach 502 critical care nurses, identified from the Australian College of Critical Care Nursing (ACCCN) (Victoria) database were invited to participate in this study. A 31-item questionnaire was developed and distributed. A total of 218 eligible participants completed the survey. One-to-one semi-structured interviews with 13 Victorian critical care nurses were also conducted.Participants reported that a lack of time was a barrier to discharge planning. Communication however, could enhance or impede the discharge planning process in critical care. Participants considered that the critical pathway, used in the care of cardiothoracic patients, did assist with communication of discharge planning processes, hence enhancing the process.While these findings provide some understanding of the factors that enhanced or impeded critical care nurses' discharge planning practices further research is indicated. The findings reported here may, however, provide a starting point for improving the discharge planning process in critical care.

publication date

  • October 2005

has subject area