A review of discharge planning research of older adults 1990-2008.
Given previously reported findings of racial differences in elderly people's use of posthospital care, this article focuses on discharge planning processes as explanations of differential service utilization. We studied the discharge plans for 369 African American and white elderly patients and examined options pursued for posthospital care by social workers, patients, and families for evidence of racial differences. We also looked for racial differences in ruling out nursing home care for reasons of patient and family preference. Discharge planning with African American patients and family members involved less pursuit of nursing home care and more pursuit of formal services in the home than planning with white patients and families. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.