One Call Away: Addressing a Safety Gap for Urgent Issues Post Discharge.

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DOI: 10.1542/hpeds.2020-003418


OBJECTIVES: The transition period from hospitalization to outpatient care can be high risk for pediatric patients. Our aim was to profile the use of a "safety net" for families through provision of specific inpatient provider contact information for urgent issues post discharge.

METHODS: In this prospective study, we implemented an updated after-visit summary that directed families to call the hospital operator and specifically ask for the pediatric hospital medicine attending on call if they were unable to reach their primary care provider (PCP) with an urgent postdischarge concern. Education for nursing staff, operators, and pediatric hospital medicine providers was completed, and contact information was automatically populated into the after-visit summary. Information collected included the number of calls, the topic, time spent, whether the family contacted the PCP first, and the time of day. Descriptive statistics and Fisher's exact test were used to summarize findings.

RESULTS: Over a 13-month period, of 5145 discharges, there were 47 postdischarge phone calls, which averaged to 3.6 calls per month. The average length of time spent on a call was 21 minutes. For 30% of calls, families had tried contacting their PCPs first, and 55% of calls occurred at night. Topics of calls included requesting advice about symptoms, time line for reevaluation, and assistance with medications.

CONCLUSIONS: This safety net provided families with real-time problem-solving for an urgent need post discharge, which included triaging patient symptoms at home, counseling on medication questions, information about the time line of illness recovery, and provision of additional resources.

Journal Title

Hosp Pediatr





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