Background: Older people are frequent users of hospital care and are at high risk of adverse outcomes such as
unplanned hospital readmission after discharge. Various transitional care programmes targeting post-discharge outcomes
have been studied, utilising telephone follow-up (TFU) both as a sole intervention and as part of multi-component interventions.
Literature review findings: The effects of TFU of older people after hospital discharge as a sole intervention upon healthcare
utilisation outcomes such as readmissions have not been reported to date. The individual impact of TFU in multicomponent
interventions that have reported reduced readmissions is hard to assess. There is considerable heterogeneity
in terms of outcomes studied and how TFU was instituted. Outstanding questions remain about which health-care professional
should perform TFU, when and how often it should be done after discharge, and what questions should be asked.
Conclusions: TFU of older people after hospital discharge has been reported as a feasible, low cost, minimal harm intervention
which patients appreciate, so assessing its effectiveness in more diverse settings and randomised trials is important.