Effectiveness of an Organized Follow-up System for Elder Patients Released from the Emergency Department
Article first published online: 29 SEP 2008
© 1997 Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
Academic Emergency Medicine
Volume 4, Issue 12, pages 1147–1152, December 1997
How to Cite
Jones, J. S., Young, M. S., LaFleur, R. A. and Brown, M. D. (1997), Effectiveness of an Organized Follow-up System for Elder Patients Released from the Emergency Department. Academic Emergency Medicine, 4: 1147–1152. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.1997.tb03698.x
- Issue published online: 29 SEP 2008
- Article first published online: 29 SEP 2008
- October 29, 1996, February 20, 1997, March 18, 1997; updated: April 3, 1997
- emergency department;
Objectives: To determine whether an effective telephone callback system can be successfully implemented in a busy ED and to quantify the benefits that can be obtained related to the follow-up care of elder patients.
Methods: This was a prospective, cohort study conducted at a community teaching hospital during a 6-month period. Consecutive patients ≥60 years old and released from the ED were selected for telephone follow-up. Calls were made by a research nurse within 72 hours after the patient's ED visit. Follow-up information included current medical status, problems encountered during the ED visit, compliance, and impact of the illness on self-care capabilities.
Results: Seventy-nine percent (831/1,048) of the patients selected for telephone follow-up were successfully contacted. The calls lasted an average of 4 ± 2.5 minutes. Although 94% (778/831) of these patients had a regular physician, 14% failed to make their recommended follow-up arrangements. Compliance was significantly improved when a follow-up physician was contacted during the patient's ED visit. Approximately 96% of the patients were either satisfied or very satisfied with their ED care. However, 13% (109/831) had moderate deterioration in their ability to care for themselves. Of the patients contacted, 333 (40%) required further clarification of their home care instructions, 31 were advised to return to the ED for reevaluation, and 26 were referred to a medical social worker for psychosocial concerns.
Conclusion: A telephone callback system is a feasible and effective method to improve follow-up care of elder patients released from the ED.