Research Activities, May 2013
Patients returning home after hospitalization for stroke benefit from medication coaching by telephone
Patient Safety and Quality
When patients hospitalized for an acute stroke return home, they must make substantial adjustments to learn how to cope with their condition, their medications and, potentially, new disabilities within a short time frame. A telephone medication coaching program in which patients are contacted by phone soon after discharge is a convenient and relatively inexpensive way to provide assistance to patients and caregivers, concludes a pilot study.
To develop a new program to support patients in their transition to home after hospitalizations for stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA or "ministroke"), a team of North Carolina-based researchers did a pilot study of a telephone medication coaching program for a small group of 30 patients admitted to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center with ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke or TIA. The patients had at least two medications changed between hospital admission and discharge.
The researchers telephoned the patients once they had returned home from the hospital, and again 3 months later to discuss risk factors, review medications, and direct patients’ questions to a stroke nurse and/or pharmacist. The researchers found that participants had a positive evaluation of the coaching and were more likely to have seen their primary care provider within 3 months of discharge than were patients in the control group who did not receive telephone coaching. Previous research had identified key elements of effective care transitions as including assistance with managing medications and encouragement to followup with primary or specialty care. This study was supported by AHRQ (HS16964).
See "Medication coaching program for patients with minor stroke or TIA; A pilot study," by Elizabeth G. Sides, M.Ed., Louise O. Zimmer, M.A., M.P.H., Leslie Wilson, B.S., and others in BMC Public Health 12, p. 549, 2012.