Nurse-led telephone follow-up can significantly improve the quality of life of people who attend A&E after being injured in a road accident, latest study results suggest.
Nurse researchers from the Umea University in Sweden studied 568 car occupants, cyclists or pedestrians who attended A&E after an accident. All the patients filled out a quality of life questionnaire two weeks and six months after being injured.
Half also received a follow-up phone call from an A&E-trained nurse three weeks after discharge. The nurse offered advice on self-care, medication, how to cope with ongoing symptoms and when to seek further medical attention.
Those in the telephone follow-up group could also call the nurse at any time during the six month period if they had any concerns.
The researchers found that patients in the telephone support group were 35% less likely to complain of pain and discomfort than patients in the control group, rising to 40% for car occupants.
Patients who received nurse support also reported fewer problems with anxiety, depression, everyday tasks and mobility, the researchers said.
Jim Bethel, nurse practitioner in A&E at Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust in the West Midlands, said: ‘Discharge advice is often poorly understood or recalled by patients, particularly if not provided in written form. This sort of follow-up helps to overcome this.
‘The scheme also works because it does not wait for things to go wrong, but intervenes in a more proactive manner to avoid complications of injury,’ he added.
Alan Dobson, RCN advisor in acute and emergency care, added: ‘There is no doubt that this type of follow-up care is beneficial to patients who have been injured. But it is a highly personalised, resource intensive service which would require taking A&E nurses off the shop floor.
Journal of Clinical Nursing (2009) 18: 108-116
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