Below the Surface: Caregivers' Experience of Hospital-to-Home Transitions

Celeste L. Jenisch, Rebecca M. Jungbauer, Katharine E. Zuckerman, David Wagner, Katrina L. Ramsey, Jared Austin, Steven J. Everist, Alyssa J. Libak, Michael Harris, Louise E. Vaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to understand the breadth of the hospital-to-home experience from the caregiver perspective using a mixed method approach. METHODS: Caregivers of children who experienced an inpatient admission (N = 184) completed a hospital-to-home transition questionnaire after discharge. Twenty-six closed-ended survey items captured child's hospitalization, discharge, and postdischarge experiences and were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Four additional free-response items allowed caregivers to expand on specific challenges or issues. A conventional content analysis coding framework was applied to the free responses. RESULTS: Ninety-one percent of caregivers reported satisfaction with the hospital experience and 88% reported they understood how to manage their child's health after discharge. A majority of survey respondents (74%) provided answers to 1 or more of the qualitative free-response items. In the predischarge period, qualitative responses centered on concerns related to finances or available resources and support, communication, hospital environment, and the discharge process. Responses for the postdischarge time period centered on family well-being (child health, other family member health), finances (bills, cost of missed work), and medical follow-up (supplies, appointments, instruction). CONCLUSIONS: Caregivers were generally satisfied with their hospital experience; however, incorporating survey items specifically related to family stressors either through closed- or open-ended questions gave a richer context for caregiver-identified concerns. Basing future quality improvement efforts on supporting caregiver needs and identifying stressors before discharge may make for a more robust and successful transition to home.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E54-E59
JournalHospital pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pediatrics


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