Meleis' Theory of Transition and Readiness of Older People for Discharge from Hospital to Home

Friday, 3 August 2012: 10:35 AM

Alice Coffey, PhD, MEd, BA, RGN, RM, RNT
Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

Learning Objective 1: Discuss the use of Meleis' theory of transition as a framework for research on the readiness of older people for discharge

Learning Objective 2: Discuss the use of Meleis' theory as a guide for nursing practice in discharge management.


This paper explores the use of Meleis theory of transitions in research to examine the readiness of older people for discharge from hospital to home and their use of community support.

Methods: Concepts of Meleis Theory of Transitions were used to underpin a descriptive correllational study into the readiness of older patients for discharge from hospital to home. A unique combination of variables – demographic characteristics, hospitalisation factors, physical and cognitive functioning and perception of readiness – were used to empirically ascertain older patients’ readiness at discharge and statistically test relationships between the variables measured at discharge and older patients’ use of informal and formal support post-discharge, including readmission. The methodology and results were then explored in relation to the development of nursing knowledge and theory.

Results: Findings demonstrated that Meleis’ theory is useful in identifying factors associated with the discharge transition and provided evidence of relationships consistent with the theory propositions. However the results support further development of the theory dimensions 'transition conditions' and  ‘preparation and knowledge’.

Conclusion: The appropriateness of Meleis’ theory concept ‘nursing therapeutics’ to the discharge transition was supported by results that encourage person centred approaches to the management of discharge and the formation of therapeutic relationships between older patients, health professionals and families.