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A social support intervention alone and with reminders improved appointment keeping among patients with chronic illnesses

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Question Can social support strategies improve appointment keeping among patients with chronic illnesses?


Randomised controlled trial with follow up at 3 months.


An ambulatory medical clinic in a large, inner city hospital in the US.


200 clinic patients (71% women, 95% black, 69% >50 y old) who were diagnosed with chronic asymptomatic illnesses (usually diabetes and/or hypertension), had ≥1 previous clinic appointment, were scheduled for follow up appointments within 3 months, and were able to identify a family member or significant other who could be reached by telephone. Most of the patients had an annual family income of <US$7000 (87%), ≤9 years of formal education (63%), and were widowed or divorced (55%).


Patients were allocated to 1 of 3 intervention groups (each group n=50) or to the control group (n=50). All …

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  • Source of funding: not stated.

  • For article reprint: Dr E K Tanner, College of Nursing, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL 35899, USA. Fax +1 205 890 6026.