OBJECTIVE: To examine the experience of a discharge letter received by patients suffering from epilepsy and parents with children who suffer from epilepsy.
DESIGN: Qualitative research inspired by a phenomenological methodology approach.
SETTING: Face-to-face interviews with patients and parents of epileptic children in their own homes.
SAMPLE: Participants (total n = 11).
METHODS: In-depth interviews were recorded verbatim, transcribed and analysed.
RESULTS: Two themes were identified: (i) it was written about me and (ii) a sense of feeling secure. By being discharged with a personalised letter, the participants felt seen and heard. The discharge letter enabled them to contact their doctor and the Filadelfia hospital more efficiently if needed. Parents indicated that the discharge letter bridged the uncertainty that they often experienced when dealing with the child's school or authorities in general.
CONCLUSIONS: The discharge letter enables the participants to make the transition into everyday life with the best and most up-to-date information about themselves and their current condition as an epilepsy patient. The discharge letter empowers the patient or parents to face everyday life. The discharge becomes a kind of passport to the outside world when encountering the general practitioner, the school or other circumstances where the patient engages. The discharge letter becomes a patient-centred tool proving that enhanced communication and understanding between healthcare professionals, patients and parents succeeds. This example could be transferable to other hospitals to heighten the patient's self-efficacy and quality of life after being discharged from the hospital.