Exploring orthopaedic patients’ experiences of hospital discharge: implications for nursing care

Rosemary Saunders*, David Dineen, Karen Gullick, Karla Seaman, Renée Graham, Sandra Finlay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Nurses play a key role in providing discharge education. With the increased demand for orthopaedic surgery and subsequent fast‐track surgical programmes resulting in reduction in hospital length of stay, obtaining patient feedback about discharge is important to inform nursing practice of discharge. Aim: To explore patients’ experiences of discharge from hospital following orthopaedic surgery. Methods: A descriptive qualitative study was undertaken with a sample of 34 patients discharged following orthopaedic surgery at a private acute Australian hospital. Individual semistructured telephone interviews were conducted and analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Findings: From the analysis, patient experiences have been described in three themes: (1) experiences of hospital discharge, (2) perceptions of discharge information, and (3) limitations of discharge information. Although participants reported being informed when discharged from hospital, more information about medication management, constipation, and wound care would have better supported their recovery to assist in their self-care. Discussion: Discharge experiences and perceptions varied between participants, highlighting the importance of nurses and other health professionals, in providing discharge information to meet individual patient needs. This included improved communication, information about the discharge process, management of medication, wound, and prevention of constipation as part of recovery. Conclusion: Patient feedback has highlighted that nurses need to provide more tailored discharge information for orthopaedic patients to support recovery to prevent postdischarge problems and hospital readmission.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Health care quality
  • Hospital
  • Nursing
  • Orthopaedic
  • Patient discharge
  • Patient experience


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