Introduction Parents whose child is admitted in a hospital are often overwhelmed by an oncoming discharge. Especially when care has to be continued at home, parents instructions are provided only shortly before discharge. As a result discharge may be suboptimal or hospitalisation may be prolonged. The question arises whether family centred care contributes to a more effective and efficient discharge management.
Method We studied the literature, organised 4 focus group discussions with 21 nurses in total, and distributed a survey among 15 parent couples.
Results Results from several studies show that parents’ participation reduces the time of hospitalisation by circa 3 days. In the focus group discussions nurses recognised that the moment of discharge is mainly based on medical criteria. As a result parents instructions start at a late moment, must be performed in a short period of time and sometimes increases the length of stay. The surveys showed that all parents feel responsible for the care of their child during hospitalisation. Of the parents, 64% mentioned that they are involved in the discharge planning, that started at admission. However, only 34% of the parents stated to be informed about discharge criteria.
Conclusion Parents’ participation shortens the length of stay in hospital. However, the present discharge procedure is not sufficiently family centred and oncoming discharge is not discussed timely. We recommend to discuss discharge planning on a daily base within the team of care providers including the parents, and to involve parents in the discharge manangement.