Telephone Follow-Up Does Not Improve 30-Day Outcomes of ED Discharges

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Telephone follow-up does not improve outcomes for older adults discharged from the emergency department.
Telephone follow-up does not improve outcomes for older adults discharged from the emergency department.

HealthDay News — For older adults discharged to home from the emergency department, telephone follow-up does not improve outcomes, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Kevin J. Biese, MD, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial involving 2,000 individuals aged 65 years and older discharged to home from the emergency department who were randomized into intervention and control groups. The intervention group received a telephone call from a nurse using a scripted questionnaire to identify obstacles to elements of successful care transitions. Control subjects received a satisfaction survey.

The researchers found that the rate of return to the emergency department or hospital or death within 30 days was 15.5% and 15.2% in the intervention and control groups, respectively (P= .86). Death occurred in 0% and 0.51% of the intervention and control groups, respectively; return to the emergency department occurred in 12.2% and 12.5% of the intervention and control groups, respectively; and hospitalization within 30 days occurred in 9% and 7.4% of the intervention and control groups, respectively.

"Based on the results of this study and recent systematic reviews, we cannot recommend undifferentiated telephone call follow-up as a way to improve the care transitions of older adults from the emergency department," the authors write.

Reference

Biese KJ, Busby-Whitehead J, Cai J, et al. Telephone follow-up for older adults discharged to home from the emergency department: a pragmatic randomized controlled trial [published online December 22, 2017].  J Am Geriatr Soc. doi:10.1111/jgs.15142

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