Hospital at home for acute respiratory patients

Eur J Intern Med. 2006 Oct;17(6):402-7 Gonzalez Barcala FJ, Pose Reino A, Paz Esquete JJ, De la Fuente Cid R, Masa Vazquez LA, Alvarez Calderon P, Valdes Cuadrado L. Respiratory Service, Hospital Clinico, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

BACKGROUND: The issue of "hospital at home" (HAH) for acute respiratory patients is one that is still being debated, partly because economic, cultural and health service differences between locations imply that HAH schemes need to be tailored to local situations. The aim of the present study was to analyze the feasibility and effectiveness of HAH for patients with acute respiratory disease at our institution.

METHODS: Of all the patients admitted to our institution via the emergency department during a 34-day subject enrollment period, 25 with diagnoses of respiratory infection, pneumonia, pulmonary insufficiency or exacerbated chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who were living within 25 km of our center and who were willing to receive HAH care were assigned to HAH. Fifty sex-matched controls with the same diagnoses were given conventional hospital care (CHC) as inpatients. The dependent variables evaluated included time to discharge, readmissions within 3 months and deaths within 3 months.

RESULTS: There were no significant differences between the HAH and CHC groups with regard to age, diagnoses, physical and analytical findings, or co-morbidity, or with regard to deaths (HAH 16%, CHC 10%) or readmissions (HAH 17%, CHC 24%). Time to final discharge was significantly shorter for HAH patients (7 days) than for CHC patients (12 days). Some 95% of the HAH patients were satisfied and would choose HAH again.

CONCLUSIONS: HAH seems feasible for appropriately selected acute respiratory disease patients presenting in our emergency department. It frees hospital beds for other patients, its readmission and mortality rates are no higher than for conventional hospitalization, and, in general, it is favorably evaluated by patients.




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