Pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome are the major complications of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Transitional care is indispensable in successfully transitioning patients with COVID-19 from hospital to home and preventing adverse events of this disease. The purpose of the present study was to analyze the effects of transitional care on improvements in inflammation and pulmonary function in patients with COVID-19. Data of all hospitalized patients with COVID-19 (n=242) discharged from Mudanjiang Medical University (Mudanjiang, China) between May 2020 and October 2020 were retrospectively collected. Patients with COVID-19 had been hospitalized and assigned to receive transitional care (n=126) or usual care (n=116) and were followed up for 12 months. Hospital stay, inflammation and pulmonary function were compared in patients with COVID-19 between the transitional care and usual care group. Transitional care significantly improved physical symptoms, anxiety, depression and empathy of the patients for other patients affected. Compared to the usual care group, marked improvements in typical symptoms, including dyspnea, asthenia, cough, nausea, chest pain, myalgia, headache, fever, diarrhea, chest pain, dizziness, conjunctivitis, as well as disorders of smell and taste, were observed in the transitional care group. Patients in the transitional care group had a shorter hospital stay than those patients in the usual care group. Furthermore, transitional care decreased inflammation and ameliorated pulmonary function in patients with COVID-19. In conclusion, transitional care has an essential role in the improvement of physical symptoms, inflammation and pulmonary function in patients with COVID-19 [Chinese Clinical Trial Registry (ChiCTR) registration no. ChiCTR2200060295; 26.05.2022].