Post-Discharge Follow-Up Calls Intervention


The problem of readmissions in hospitals is actively discussed by administrators and practitioners at different levels. Risks are extremely high for surgical patients who need continuous support even after being discharged. Post-discharge follow-up calls can be viewed as an effective intervention to address the issue (Chen, Li, & Lin, 2016). The purpose of this paper is to describe an evaluation plan and methods that will be used to assess the outcomes of implementing the intervention in the selected hospital.

Methods and Rationales

To collect the information related to the project outcomes, it is important to use the digital data regarding readmission rates during the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth months of the project. It is also necessary to use the documented information regarding the patients’ health status, physical state, emotional state, and complaints (Hornick, Balderman, Eugea, Sanchez, & Zayed, 2016). These quantitative and qualitative data are collected by registered nurses (RNs), medical doctors (MDs), and nurse practitioners (NPs) during their communication with patients. The data are stored in digital files, and they are regularly evaluated by unit managers to examine possible changes in readmission rates. The expected outcome is a reduction in readmissions associated with follow-up calls. The proposed assessment is appropriate to demonstrate whether positive changes in the number of readmissions are observed. Additionally, the analysis of protocols indicates what factors can prevent readmissions.

Evaluation Concerning Project Objectives

The proposed methods of evaluation are correlated with the project objectives. The main project goal is to achieve a 70% reduction in readmissions for six months. Therefore, the first evaluation of a readmission rate should be realized by the end of the second month. Such an assessment should become regular to conclude a positive tendency associated with reducing the number of readmissions for surgical patients (Lushaj et al., 2016). The readmission rate observed after six months should be compared to the pre-implementation rate assessed before developing a new post-discharge procedure.

Measurement of Outcomes

While proposing the selected intervention, the researcher is interested not only in observing reductions in the readmission rate but also in concluding whether the implemented post-discharge procedure is effective in contrast to the absence of such procedures. Therefore, it is important to use a chi-square test and t-tests to compare the results for control and test groups. A chi-square test is effective to demonstrate whether differences in readmissions for two groups depend on the new post-discharge procedure, and t-tests are important to prove the presence of any differences between readmission rates (Clari et al., 2015). The used protocols can be discussed as valid and reliable because questions are adapted from the evidence-based literature, and the focus is on questions with high Cronbach’s alpha (Daniels et al., 2016). The method of measurement can be discussed as applicable.

Strategies to Revise the Project

It is possible to expect that outcomes will be negative, and there will not be any difference between readmission rates for patients from control and test groups. Furthermore, the overall number of readmissions can remain high. Therefore, the project should be modified if there are no positive changes or tendencies. It is necessary to modify the post-discharge procedure in terms of changing conditions and adding more services to patients. It is possible to propose regular face-to-face consultations for patients who are also provided with follow-up calls (Szöts, Konradsen, Solgaard, & Østergaard, 2014). The results should be compared to outcomes for a control group.

Implications for Practice and Future Research

The project outcomes are important to provide evidence regarding the most effective follow-up procedures that can be applied in hospitals to reduce readmission rates. Although many studies demonstrate the effectiveness of follow-up calls to deliver high-quality care to surgical patients, there is still a lack of data regarding the relationship between post-discharge telephone calls performed by RNs, MDs, and NPS and readmission rates (Clari et al., 2015). However, for future research, it is important to change conditions and involve one more group of patients who will be provided with alternative services to compare the results of different interventions.

Conclusion

This paper has presented the evaluation plan to be implemented in the context of the developed project. The main method of collecting the data for this assessment is the use of protocols and calculations. The data should be analyzed with the help of chi-square tests and t-tests. This approach will demonstrate possible differences in outcomes for two groups of surgical patients.

References

Chen, M., Li, P., & Lin, F. (2016). Influence of structured telephone follow-up on patient compliance with rehabilitation after total knee arthroplasty. Patient Preference and Adherence, 10(1), 257-264. Web.

Clari, M., Frigerio, S., Ricceri, F., Pici, A., Alvaro, R., & Dimonte, V. (2015). Follow‐up telephone calls to patients discharged after undergoing orthopaedic surgery: Double‐blind, randomized controlled trial of efficacy. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 24(19), 2736-2744. Web.

Daniels, S. A., Kelly, A., Bachand, D., Simeoni, E., Hall, C., Hofer, S. M., & Hayashi, A. (2016). Call to care: The impact of 24-hour postdischarge telephone follow-up in the treatment of surgical day care patients. The American Journal of Surgery, 211(5), 963-967. Web.

Hornick, J. R., Balderman, J. A., Eugea, R., Sanchez, L. A., & Zayed, M. A. (2016). A telephone call 1 week after hospitalization can identify risk factors for vascular surgery readmission. Journal of Vascular Surgery, 64(3), 719-725. Web.

Lushaj, E. B., Nelson, K., Amond, K., Kenny, E., Badami, A., & Anagnostopoulos, P. V. (2016). Timely post-discharge telephone follow-up is a useful tool in identifying post-discharge complications patients after congenital heart surgery. Pediatric Cardiology, 37(6), 1106-1110. Web.

Szöts, K., Konradsen, H., Solgaard, S., & Østergaard, B. (2014). Telephone follow-up by nurse following total knee arthroplasty-protocol for a randomized clinical trial. BMC Nursing, 13(1), 1-8. Web.