Is It Necessary To Call A Patient After Discharge?
The post-discharge follow-up call is an essential component of healthcare. Patient discharge is a multi-step process that involves setting up appointments, prescribing medications, and giving instructions for recovery at home. This is known as the after-hospital care plan. The follow-up phone call is a way for the healthcare provider to communicate with the patient about the care plan, along with a discharge summary. Studies show that patients that receive discharge phone calls are 23% less likely to be readmitted within 30 days of discharge.
Who conducts the follow-up phone call?
In medical facilities using the re-engineered discharge toolkit, the discharge educator is the person making the follow-up phone call. This can be any member of the medical staff, including a doctor or nurse. During the phone call, the discharge educator goes over the patient’s diagnosis, personal information, upcoming appointments, symptoms, and health status.
Before the phone call
Before the call, the discharge educator should perform medication reconciliation. With this process, the educator ensures that the medicine list for the discharge summary and the after-hospital care plan is identical. This is done to prevent drug interactions and allergies and ensure safety. The educator will go over the list with the patient during the phone call.
When to make the follow-up call
The discharge educator should call patients within 3 days of discharge. The sooner the call is made, the better. The educator should have the patient’s contact information and make the call at a convenient time for the patient. The educator should also encourage the patient to contact the primary care provider if this hasn’t been done already. Again, most hospital readmissions occur within 30 days of release. So when patients receive a phone call from the discharge facility, this will help educate the patient about the treatment plan and clear up any misunderstandings about medication or follow-up care.
The most important component
Follow-up phone calls do not have to be lengthy, but the call must include a discussion regarding medications if a medication was prescribed. The educator will go over the names of the prescribed medicines along with dosage and usage. The educator should also discuss what the patient needs to do if a problem occurs.
Additional follow-up advice
Patients should speak to the healthcare professionals at the medical facility to better understand the post-discharge procedures. All facilities should have a plan in place, and patients should ask about the follow-up call guidelines.