Comparison of effects between home visits with telephone calls and telephone calls only for transitional discharge support: A randomised controlled trial

Frances Kam Yuet Wong*, Susan Ka Yee Chow, Tony Moon Fai Chan, Stanley Kui Fu Tam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Background: home visits and telephone calls are two often used approaches in transitional care but their differential effects are unknown. Objective: to examine the overall effects of a transitional care programme for discharged medical patients and the differential effects of telephone calls only. Design: randomised controlled trial. Setting: a regional hospital in Hong Kong. Participants: patients discharged from medical units fitting the inclusion criteria (n = 610) were randomly assigned to: control ('control', n = 210), home visits with calls ('home', n = 196) and calls only ('call', n = 204). Intervention: the home groups received alternative home visits and calls and the call groups calls only for 4 weeks. The control group received two placebo calls. The nurse case manager was supported by nursing students in delivering the interventions. Results: the home visit group (after 4 weeks 10.7%, after 12 weeks 21.4%) and the call group (11.8, 20.6%) had lower readmission rates than the control group (17.6, 25.7%). Significance differences were detected in intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis for the home and intervention group (home and call combined) at 4 weeks. In the per-protocol analysis (PPA) results, significant differences were found in all groups at 4 weeks. There was significant improvement in quality of life, self-efficacy and satisfaction in both ITT and PPA for the study groups. Conclusions: this study has found that bundled interventions involving both home visits and calls are more effective in reducing readmissions. Many of the transitional care programmes use all-qualified nurses, and this study reveals that a mixed skills model seems to bring about positive effects as well.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberaft123
Pages (from-to)91-97
Number of pages7
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Home visits
  • Hospital readmissions
  • Older people
  • Telephone calls
  • Transitional discharge support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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