School of Nursing


Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Lisa Smith


follow-up, post discharge, techniques/methods, telephone follow-up, SMS/automated messaging, RED discharge toolkit, patient outcomes, readmission rates




Discharge planning and education may directly influence patient outcomes, including patient satisfaction and readmission rates. Discharge techniques and follow-up practices vary across departments and facilities. Follow-up telephone calls after patient discharge are commonly utilized; however, delivery techniques differ across health care areas. The purpose of this integrative review is to explore the various techniques of initiating postdischarge follow-up phone calls and their impact on patient outcomes and satisfaction. For this review, the conceptual definition of a telephone follow-up call is a particular method of contacting a patient after discharge. Methods examined in this review were calls by a registered nurse/advanced practice nurse or trained nonmedical personnel, communication via automated short messaging system (SMS), and scripted or unscripted methodology. Patient outcomes are measured according to patient satisfaction and readmission rates. The review of the literature indicated that scripting may be beneficial for all follow-up methods, and calls by nonmedical personnel and SMS/automated messages may act as beneficial adjuncts to the traditional nurse-driven follow-up. In terms of patient outcomes, improvement was found with postdischarge follow-up; however, there are no consistent findings that indicate one follow-up method is more beneficial than another. Therefore, the impact of the various methods on health care costs should be considered when seeking to identify which technique is best practice.

Available for download on Saturday, October 12, 2024

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