Liaison nursing for stroke patients: results of a Dutch evaluation study
Liaison nurses, employed by a home care organization, were introduced into two Dutch hospitals to improve discharge planning for stroke patients. The main aim of the study presented was to gain insight into the effects of liaison nursing on the quality of the discharge process and related outcomes. After the introduction of liaison nursing, hospital nurses completed a questionnaire on satisfaction with the liaison nurse. In addition, both before and after the introduction of liaison nursing, two groups of discharged stroke patients were interviewed by telephone. The records of these patients were also studied with respect to background characteristics and duration of hospital stays. The hospital nurses were, generally, positive about the liaison nurse and the job she did (e.g. they found that home care was better organized). Further, after the introduction of liaison nursing, more patients stated that their post-discharge needs had been discussed not later than 48 hours prior to discharge, and more patients said their aftercare had been discussed with community nurses. However, the number of patients whose medication had arrived at home on time had decreased. The results also indicated that there was no significant difference in the duration of stay between the before and after group. The overall conclusion is that the liaison nurses have been moderately successful in their jobs. However, since the study was conducted in only two Dutch hospitals, findings may not be representative of other settings. Future research on liaison nursing is therefore recommended.