A literature review of the potential of telephone follow-up in colorectal cancer
Article first published online: 15 AUG 2010
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Clinical Nursing
Volume 19, Issue 17-18, pages 2394–2405, September 2010
How to Cite
Cusack, M. and Taylor, C. (2010), A literature review of the potential of telephone follow-up in colorectal cancer. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 19: 2394–2405. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2010.03253.x
- Issue published online: 15 AUG 2010
- Article first published online: 15 AUG 2010
- Accepted for publication: 16 February 2010
Aims. The aim of this review is to examine the potential of telephone follow-up for patients with colorectal cancer.
Background. More people are surviving cancer and entering into follow-up care. It is recognised that improvements in cancer follow-up care are needed in the UK. Telephone use has proved a very successful medium for conducting health care in other specialties and may offer an acceptable alternative to face-to-face follow-up appointments. Nurse specialists could assume responsibility for patients’ follow-up by offering telephone consultations.
Design. A literature review was conducted via a systematic electronic and hand search of relevant literature.
Method. Thematic content analysis was used to achieve the objectives of the review.
Results. The findings demonstrate that telephone follow-up conducted by an experienced nurse specialist is cost-effective and accepted by the majority of patients. Aspects of care such as symptom management and reassurance are possible over the phone.
Conclusion. Telephone follow-up meets patients’ satisfaction, support and information needs and has potential to deliver high standards of aftercare when conducted by a nurse specialist. It is at least equivalent to traditional follow-up in meeting the needs of patients with cancer. Because of the disparity of the studies examined, further research in the area of nurse-led telephone follow-up vs. nurse-led traditional follow-up would be constructive in the development of this new initiative.
Relevance to clinical practice. Nurses are now increasingly involved in patient follow-up care and telephone dialogue after hospital discharge. However, the ideal structure, method and timing of telephone follow-up as well as the skills required to carry out such care over the phone are often not considered and have not been articulated. The option of telephone follow-up could, for some patients, dramatically improve their care experience.