During the Gulf War in 1991 a telephone-based support system was established for elderly patients living at home in Israel. The study population involved 93 elderly patients (mean age 74), who had recently been discharged from hospital and were chosen for supervision by the Home-Care Unit of the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Israel. Two different teams were involved with the telephone support calls: secretarial staff (nonprofessional team) and social workers (professional team). The research examined the characteristics of the study population and also included a comparison between the two groups of patients receiving the psycho-social support. The latter indicated that better results of outcome indices were achieved by the professional team. Further, this study demonstrated the feasibility of telephone-support outreach as an interventional strategy for psycho-social support for elderly patients at a time of crisis.
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