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How Can We Prevent Multiple Calls to Patients?

Question

Is there a way to prevent multiple calls to patients after discharge? Not only do the nursing units do follow-up calls, but so do our trauma coordinator, the hospital programs, and therapy.

Answer

You have the right idea to be concerned about patients and their families getting multiple calls after discharge. This can be an irritant, rather than a help.

First, I would recommend identifying all departments that are making these phone calls. This includes all trauma nurses, case managers, social workers, etc. Pull them together for a meeting and include some nurse managers.

Determine the criteria for making post-discharge calls and place multiple department questions into one phone call. This should also include questions regarding service and survey completion so ‘‘one call does it all.”

Next, set up a process whereby all calls are assigned to specific people. In the case of a trauma patient, the trauma nurse would make that call. Have the unit secretary pull and set aside a face sheet on every discharged patient. This makes it easier for the nurse manager to review at the end of the day and assign the call to the appropriate person. This also gives the manager the opportunity to remove patients from the list who were discharged to a nursing home.

Therefore, the staff members call only the patients for whom they get a face sheet. I would also suggest setting up a process whereby the nurse managers receive feedback from the individuals making the calls. This ensures open communication, which can lead to process improvement and identify reward and recognition opportunities.