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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 312-315

Postdischarge 24/7 hotline service for neurology and neurosurgery patients and 1-year impact on readmission rates, unplanned emergency department visits, and patient satisfaction

1 Department of Nursing Services, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan
2 Department of Surgery, Section of Neurosurgery, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Muhammad Shahzad Shamim
Department of Surgery, Section of Neurosurgery, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ajns.AJNS_479_20

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Objective: Telephone triage is a system in which trained nurses use standardized protocols to evaluate symptoms over the phone and determine the appropriate course of action. Materials and Methods: We implemented a protocol for systematic follow up phone calls and telephonic triage to families of neurology and neurosurgery patients after discharge, primarily to improve care transition and to assess its impact on the ratio of visits in the emergency department, readmissions, and overall satisfaction of patients and families. The intervention comprised the implementation of nurse led telephone triage and postdischarge follow up phone calls. After implementing hotline services in mind and brain service line, a retrospective cohort study was conducted to evaluate the impact of hotline services on patient readmissions, emergency department visits, and overall satisfaction rate. We collected data of readmission rate and emergency visits of discharge patients in three periods a prehotline period, immediate posthotline period, and late posthotline period to make comparison. Patients discharged home from the neurology and neurosurgery services from January 2017 to September 2019 were provided with hotline number to call in case of any issue or query. These patients also received postdischarge follow up calls from hotline nurses. We initiated the hotline in October 2017. Results: On analysis, we found a 25% decline in readmission rate in the immediate period of hotline followed by a further decline to 37.2% in the late period as compared to the prehotline period. Among discharge patients visiting the emergency department, we found a decline of 18.5% in the immediate posthotline period which further declined to 77.7% in the later phase as compared to the prehotline period. Conclusion: A standardized telephone system and pathway can be an effective way to improve nurse–patient communication which can further improve health outcomes for many patients.

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