Evaluation of the effectiveness of hospital discharge planning and follow-up in the primary care of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

J Clin Nurs. 2013 Mar;22(5-6):669-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2012.04155.x. Epub 2012 Jul 25.


Aims and objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of protocolised intervention for hospital discharge and follow-up in the primary care of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality internationally.

Design: A quasi-experimental design was adopted, with a control group and it was pseudorandomised by services.

Methods: Patients with COPD admitted to two tertiary-level public hospitals in Spain were recruited (2007-2008). The outcome variables included: readmission rate, patient satisfaction (LOPSS12), quality of life (St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire) and level of knowledge about COPD. 48 hours after admission, both groups were evaluated by specialist coordinating nurses. At the hospital, a coordinating nurse visited each patient in the experimental group every 24 hours to identify the main caregiver, provide information about the disease, explain treatment, identify care problems and needs and facilitate communication between professionals. 24 hours after discharge, the coordinating nurses informed the primary care nurses about patient discharge. The two nurses made the first home visit together. There were follow-up phone calls at 2, 6, 12 and 24 weeks after discharge. A total of 143 patients were recruited (Intervention group=56; Control group=87).

Results: The results showed a significant improvement in the evolution of quality of life, at 12 and 24 weeks after discharge; the level of knowledge about COPD revealed significant differences between the groups. There were no differences according to satisfaction or readmission rate. Multivariate analysis (non-conditional logistic regression) showed the intervention to be ineffective in reducing the readmission rate.

Conclusions: The planning of discharge for patients with COPD is effective in terms of improving the patients' quality of life and level of knowledge about the disease.

Relevance to clinical practice: The characteristics of patients with COPD make it necessary to include them in hospital discharge planning programmes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge / standards*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Quality of Life
  • Spain