Article Text

Pre-discharge Home Visits for Terminally Ill Hospital Patients
  1. Alexander Tracy,
  2. Chia Swee Hong
  1. Tracy Alexander, Occupational Therapy Student, and Chia Swee Hong, Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health Professions, University of East Anglia, Norwich. Email: s.chia{at}


The preferred place of care and death for the majority of terminally ill people is the home environment. However, the majority of people die in hospital. Discharging terminally ill people from hospital to home is considered to be a complex, challenging and risky process. Pre-discharge occupational therapy home visits are common practice in the care of older adults in Europe. They play an important role in enabling people with terminal conditions to remain at home. This article discusses one such home visit. The case scenario of Walter (a pseudonym), a 68-year-old palliative care cancer patient, is used to demonstrate the role of occupational therapists in arranging and managing a pre-discharge home visit and enabling a terminally ill patient to be discharged from hospital to his preferred place of care for the final stages of his life. Such visits may be useful to ascertain what type of adaptations to the home environment are necessary to enable terminally ill patients, such as Walter, to return home and live with sufficient control and safety to maintain both quality of life and independence. Conflicts of interest: none

  • Acute care
  • Discharge planning
  • Home visits
  • Occupational therapy
  • Palliative and end-of-life care

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