Care transitions: Integrating transition theory and complexity science concepts

Carol R. Geary, Karen L. Schumacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Care transitions, defined as hospital discharge or movement from one health care setting to another, are currently a major concern of health care providers and policy makers. Extensive empirical research has been conducted on care transitions, but the theoretical foundations are rarely made explicit. We propose that integrating concepts on complex adaptive systems from complexity science with classic theory on transitions in nursing provides a powerful new lens through which to study care transitions and improve transition outcomes. We summarize concepts from both theoretical approaches, propose an expanded model of transitions, and apply the model to the transition from hospital to home.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-248
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Nursing Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • care transitions
  • complexity science
  • discharge planning
  • older adults
  • theory development
  • transitions theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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