Nurse-led postdischarge telephone follow-up calls: A mixed study systematic review

Cindy E. Woods, Rikki Jones, Eilish O’Shea, Elizabeth Grist, John Wiggers, Kim Usher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives: To explore the quantitative and qualitative literature on the impact of nurse-led postdischarge telephone follow-up (TFU) call interventions on patient outcomes. Background: Adverse patient outcomes such as postdischarge problems, premature contact with health systems, inability to self-manage conditions and hospital readmissions all have an impact on the health and well-being, and satisfaction of patients as well as a financial impact on healthcare systems. Design: A mixed-study systematic review. Review methods: A systematic search of CINAHL, Ebsco, PubMed, Quest and Cinch-Health databases was undertaken using the key terms “nurs*,” “nurse-led,” “nurse initiated,” “discharge,” “hospital,” “telephone,” “follow-up” and “telephone follow-up” to identify relevant original peer-reviewed studies published between 2010–2016. Ten articles were selected for inclusion. The selected papers were critically appraised. A sequential explanatory approach with a convergent synthesis was used to report findings following PRISMA guidelines. Results: The findings demonstrate that nurse-led TFU interventions have the potential to improve patient outcomes. The studies suggest patient satisfaction with TFU is one of the strongest positive outcomes from the interventions. However, the results do not support improvement in patient readmission or mortality. Conclusions: Of the 10 studies reviewed, only two were methodologically strong limiting the conclusions that can be drawn from the current research on this topic. Telephone follow-up interventions improve patient satisfaction and have the potential to meet patient information and communication needs, improve self-management and follow-up appointment attendance and reduce postdischarge problems. Further research is required to explore patients’ perceptions of the most useful content of TFU calls, the efficacy of TFU calls and nurses’ perceptions and experiences of conducting TFU interventions. Relevance to clinical practice: When conducted by a nurse, these interventions have the potential to enhance postdischarge care to patients and meet care needs. Patients perceive TFU as acceptable and are satisfied with this form of postdischarge care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3386-3399
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number19-20
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


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