The Role of Organizational Culture on Patient Discharge Planning

Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA)

Committee Chair

Alyncia Bowen

Committee Member

Dale Gooden

Committee Member

Bora Pajo


Discharge planning is a process to develop a care plan for medically stable patients ready to leave an acute-care hospital. A multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals that include physicians, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, social workers, the patient, and their family caregiver collaborates to develop a post-acute plan of care for when the patient. The research literature indicates that patients are dissatisfied with the process because the information is not readily available to guide their decisions about post-acute care. Published research shows that healthcare providers cite insufficient time, resources, low patient health literacy, incomplete and accurate health data sharing obstacles to effective discharge planning. The research gap is that organizational culture is not considered when healthcare leaders identify and implement strategies to improve discharge planning. This exploratory, qualitative study was conducted in the northeastern United States. Based on grounded theory, the study investigated how organizational culture plays a role in the discharge planner's performance at patient discharge planning. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with hospital discharge planners to build a new theory about how organizational culture plays a role in patient discharge planning. Key findings indicated that discharge planners view their role as patient advocates. They are often frustrated with their organization's culture and find it to impede effective patient discharge planning. The discharge planners' frustrations stem from personal and professional values conflict. The conflict and resulting frustration impacts the discharge planners' motivation to perform patient discharge planning effectively.