Discharge planning has a long and varied history in health care delivery. As length of stay declines, the health care provider has less time to educate patients and families about home care and less time to coordinate services from home health and community agencies. As a result, many patients and families are discharged with unmet home care needs and thus are at an increased risk for complications and hospital readmissions. Readiness for discharge is one part of discharge planning and is a multifaceted, multistage concept that provides an estimate of patients' and their family members' ability to leave an acute care facility. Discharge readiness assessment is the evaluation of strengths and needs in five areas: physiologic stability, competency (cognitive and psychomotor) of the patient and family to carry out self-care management regimens, perceived self-efficacy to carry out self-care management regimens, availability of social support, and access to the health care system and community resources. Each of these areas is presented as a component of discharge readiness assessment.
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