|Authors||Lushaj EB, Nelson K, Amond K, Kenny E, Badami A, Anagnostopoulos PV|
|Journal||Pediatr Cardiol Volume: 37 Issue: 6 Pages: 1106-10|
|Publish Date||2016 Aug|
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of structured post-discharge telephone follow-up (TFU) on the time to the first postoperative clinic visit and early unplanned hospital readmissions in patients after congenital heart surgery. Structured phone calls delivered by senior surgical practitioners were made 1-4 days post-discharge. Demographics and clinical outcomes of pediatric patients receiving a TFU from 2012 to 2014 were assessed. In total, 196 phone calls were made in 165 patients. Thirty-four health problems were identified in 32 (19 %) patients (15 infants, 9 children, 8 neonates). Sixty-nine percent (n = 22) of the patients with problems identified at TFU were males. Fifty-three percent (n = 17) of the patients with problems identified at TFU were RACHS 2. Most of the problems (53 %) were identified in middle-class economic families. Gastrointestinal and incision site complications were the most common problems identified. Eighteen (56 %) patients had adjustments of medications. Six (19 %) TFUs resulted in earlier than scheduled post-op clinic visits. Overall incidence of unplanned readmissions was 16 % and similar between the patients that had problems during TFU (13 %) and patients that did not have problems identified at TFU (18 %; p = 0.50). Our study demonstrates the potential impact of the timely and structured post-discharge TFU in identifying post-discharge complications and modifying discharge instructions. When TFU identifies a problem, the interventions may be successful in preventing readmissions before first postoperative clinic visit. TFUs may be helpful, as a supplement standard of care with specific focus on patients <1 year of age to help identify adverse events that could otherwise escalate.