Coaching older adults discharged home from the emergency department: The role of competence and emotion in following up with outpatient clinicians

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Objective: Motivating older adults to follow up with an outpatient clinician after discharge from emergency departments (ED) is beneficial yet challenging. We aimed to answer whether psychological needs for motivation and discrete emotions observed by care transition coaches would predict this behavioral outcome. Methods: Community-dwelling older adults following ED discharge were recruited from three EDs in two U.S. states. We examined home visit notes documented by coaches (N = 725). Retrospective chart reviews of medical records tracked participants’ health care utilization for 30 days. Results: Observed knowledge-based competence predicted higher likelihood of outpatient follow-up within 30 days, while observed sadness predicted a lower likelihood of follow-up within seven days following discharge. Moreover, participants who demonstrated happiness were marginally more likely to have an in-person follow-up within seven days, and those who demonstrated knowledge-based competence were more likely to have an electronic follow-up within 30 days. Conclusions: Knowledge-based competence and emotions, as observed and documented in coach notes, can predict older adults’ subsequent outpatient follow-up following their ED-discharge. Practice implications: Intervention programs might encourage coaches to check knowledge-based competence and to observe emotions in addition to delivering the content. Coaches could also customize strategies for patients with different recommended timeframes of follow-up.

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Patient Education and Counseling

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