Being Lost to Follow-Up to Healthcare Appointments: A Concept Analysis

Emmanuela N. Ojukwu, Kristi J. Brownlee, Rosina Cianelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concept of being lost to follow-up is very common in healthcare. Though its meaning might seem literal, its use, particularly in healthcare, requires detailed analysis, to understand factors surrounding its incidence and ways of curtailing its detrimental consequences. Walker and Avant’s eight-step concept analysis was used to identify the antecedents, attributes, empirical referents, and consequences of this concept. The attributes of the concept include a clinical starter event suffered by a patient that requires ongoing evaluation by an event tracker at a given location and frequency. However, despite a mutual agreement between the patient and the event tracker, the evaluation suffers a hiatus due to several modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors (antecedents of the concept), consequences which might include morbidity and death. Early identification and intervention are critical to avoid the occurrence of being lost to follow-up, and nurses need to be cognizant of such knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-439
Number of pages10
JournalNursing science quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • being lost to follow up
  • concept analysis
  • healthcare appointments
  • treatment engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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