Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Health Science Honours


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Supervisor

Anton Hussey


Although it is often assumed that a person will have increased knowledge after being given new information, it is important to determine how much information the person can recall and comprehend. The study sample was drawn from a paediatric hospital in Australia. The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate parents' understanding of discharge advice. The study is significant both to nursing practice and to hospital credibility. Medical records (1979-85) at the study hospital showed that approximately 100 children per year returned to hospital with secondary haemorrhage after discharge, post tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy. It is reasonable to assume that at least a proportion of these secondary haemorrhages may have been prevented by adequate education of parents. If the parent cannot recall the discharge advice it will not be available for the parent to comprehend its application to caring for the child at home following discharge. The research design was a descriptive, correlational study that took place from Day 1 to Day 3 of hospitalization. A convenience sample of one hundred parents accompanying their child to hospital for a tonsillectomy operation were given a written discharge instruction sheet on Day 1, the day of admittance to the ward. The parent took the initiative to ask for extra information, if he/she wished, at any time following this. A questionnaire was given to the parent on Day 3, prior to discharge. Quantitative data were collected over a period of twenty weeks and analysed using Chi-square and ANOVA with a SAS package. Previous studies indicated that many factors have an effect on understanding. The factors examined in this study were whether the parent's asking for advice led to increased knowledge, whether the day on which the parent asked for advice affected knowledge and whether parent's knowledge was affected by occupation, education or anxiety level. The majority of parents (97%) thought they fully understood the discharge advice. This was reflected by the results indicating that 77% of parents had a high level of understanding, scoring between 55-100% correct answers on the questionnaire. Hypothesis (1) that there is a relationship between parents' understanding and the effects of time was not supported by the data. Hypothesis (2) that there is a relationship between the parent's level of understanding and the asking for and receiving of extra information was supported in part. Hypothesis (3) that there is a relationship between the parents' level of understanding and other variables such as occupation, level of education and anxiety level is reported in detail in the conclusion. Conclusions reached were that parents' understanding of discharge advice cannot be taken for granted and that, in order for the nurse to feel confident that continuity of care has been provided for the patient, parents' understanding of discharge advice must be evaluated and any knowledge deficit re-addressed. Replication of this study was recommended using a larger sample size, pre- and post-testing of knowledge and a more detailed assessment of parents anxiety level.