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Discharge Planning Process: Applying a Model for Evidence-based Practice

Maramba, Patricia J. MSN, RN, CCNS; Richards, Samantha BSN, RN; Myers, Amy L. RN, ADN; Larrabee, June H. PhD, RN

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Discharge planning is an integral but ill-defined process in most acute care settings. The time available to a healthcare team to adequately prepare patients for discharge has virtually evaporated with decreasing lengths of hospital stay. A research utilization (RU) team at a tertiary care teaching institution reviewed the literature from 1990 to 2002 in search of a research-based practice regarding staff nurses' roles in the discharge process. Review of the literature revealed varied discharge planning processes using staff nurses, advanced practice nurses, or case managers specifically prepared to implement the discharge planning process. Insufficient evidence was found to support a change from the current staff nurse practice.

From the West Virginia University Hospitals, Morgantown, WVa. (Maramba, Richards, Myers, Larrabee)

The West Virginia University School of Nursing, Morgantown, WVa. (Maramba, Larrabee)

Corresponding author: Patricia J. Maramba, MSN, RN, CCNS, 1224 Van Voorhis Rd, H8, Morgantown, WV 26505 (e-mail: pmaramba@hsc.wvu.edu).

Accepted for publication: August 20, 2003

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.