A Scoping Review of Adult Experiences of Hospital to Home Transitions in Rural Settings


  • Billie Hilborn York University
  • Mina Singh


Scoping Review Question: How do adults experience hospital to home transitions in rural settings? 

Background:  Adequate preparation for transition from hospital to home can ensure continuity of patient care and is important in rural communities, which lack equitable access to healthcare services and professionals. After hospital discharge, rural patients feel unprepared, and have more emergency visits and hospital readmissions than urban patients.

Methods: The scoping framework designed by Arksey & O'Malley (2005) guides the methods. Eligible papers were published peer-reviewed reports in English of data collected in a rural setting that examined experiences of adults during transition from hospital to home. The search included MeSH and keywords and was adapted to fit different databases. Screening of titles and abstracts was followed by full text screening and data extraction.

Results: A total of 1448 papers were accessed, 701 titles and abstracts screened, 68 screened at full text, with 28 meeting inclusion criteria. The two main reasons for exclusion were that the topic was not transition from hospital to home, and the setting was unidentified or not rural.  

Findings: There was a broad range of geographic distribution, care settings, recipient groups, research designs, and transition experiences. Four main factors influenced transitions: communication; continuity of care; variations in patients, healthcare professionals, and/or services; and attention to the rural context.

Recommendations: Based on the review, recommendations were made to improve discharge processes in rural settings.

Keywords: scoping review, hospital discharge, hospital to home, transitional care, rural, patient experience, nursing

DOI:  https://doi.org/10.14574/ojrnhc.v22i1.703 

Author Biographies

Billie Hilborn, York University

RN, CNeph(C), BScN, MHSc (Bioethics)

Ph.D. Candidate,

Faculty of Graduate Studies, School of Nursing


Mina Singh


Professor, School of Nursing