• outpatient follow-up;
  • nurse-led telephone interventions;
  • cancer care;
  • nursing

Background. Questions about the suitability of traditional outpatient follow-up clinics as a way of providing on-going monitoring for patients following serious illness have led to the development of a range of nurse-led services. However, there has been little attempt to draw some of this knowledge together formally and consider the weight of evidence on the necessity and value of nurse-led follow-up.

Aim. To provide a review of literature evaluating the impact of nurse led follow-up in cancer care, with particular focus on the use and value of telephone interventions.

Method. A literature search was conducted of nursing, medical and social science databases and the following keywords: cancer follow-up, nurse-led follow-up, telephone follow-up, telephone-based interventions and telephone survey. The search yielded over 150 papers, of which 37 were relevant to this review.

Findings. The literature suggests that nurse-led follow-up for people with cancer meets their needs for psychological support and information. The telephone is identified as a suitable means of providing this kind of service.

Conclusion. This review demonstrates that nurse-led follow-up services are acceptable, appropriate and effective. Combined with use of the telephone, such services can be an efficient means of maintaining contact with a large client group, providing vital support to vulnerable patients during their move into aftercare and beyond.