During the Gulf War, 93 elderly patients (mean age 74 years) received telephone-based support calls from a hospital-based home care facility. Accuracy of memory recall of these telephone support calls was assessed 6 weeks after the termination of the war by means of a postal questionnaire. The relative accuracy of the recall memory of these patients or their caregivers to the telephone calls received exhibited a sensitivity of 75%, a specificity of 78%, a positive predictive value of 60% and a negative predictive value of 88%. Patients who had received four calls demonstrated better memory recall than those receiving less than four. Thus, relying upon patient's memory alone may be insufficient for evaluating survey data in the elderly. In addition, we found that only patients who correctly remembered receiving four individual telephone support calls tended to exhibit a decrease in the anxiety level. This study emphasizes the importance of repeated interventional telephone calls as a method of increasing recall accuracy and decreasing anxiety in aged patients. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.
- Recall memory
- Telephone support