Post-Discharge Phone Call
- Define who will call your patient after discharge.
- Define when the follow-up call will be made.
- Develop script for caller.
- Develop a process for off shifts and weekends.
The final component of the Project RED intervention that has not been traditionally been addressed by hospitals is the post-discharge phone call that is made to the patient within 48 to 72 hours after departure from the hospital.
It will be up to your organization to decide who will call the patient. Will it be the DA? Will it be a unit secretary who asks the patient preliminary and screening questions? Will it be the pharmacist? Maybe you already have a call center or protocol to contact patients after discharge.
What is important is that the telephone number is documented, the call is made, standardized questions are used for data collection, and the process is consistently defined across weekdays, off shifts, and weekends. Of key import is whether the patient has specific questions and needs that must be addressed by a specific health care professional, prompting perhaps another call to the patient by that health care professional. Keep in mind that if your caller is not a clinician, he or she will need more guidance about what to listen for that may indicate a changing clinical situation (e.g., heart failure patient saying something that suggests they have gained weight or are retaining fluid).