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Hospital-at-Home Works for Some Patients

Model found safe, effective and feasible for older, acutely ill patients

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Home hospitalization is feasible, safe and effective for some acutely ill, elderly patients, according to a study published in the Dec. 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Bruce Leff, M.D., of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, and colleagues evaluated the hospital-at-home model for 455 elderly patients who needed admission to an acute care hospital for pneumonia, cellulitis, exacerbation of chronic heart failure, or exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The researchers found hospital-at-home care feasible and effective in delivering hospital-level care to patients. In two out of three sites studied, 69% of patients chose hospital-at-home care over acute hospital care when the option was offered. In the third site, just under 30% of patients chose hospital-at-home care.

Hospital-at-home care met quality standards and involved a shorter length of stay than acute hospital care -- 3.2 days versus 4.9 days. There was some evidence that patients at home had fewer complications, while the mean cost was lower for hospital-at-home care -- $5,081 versus $7,480.

"The hospital-at-home care model is feasible, safe and efficacious for certain older patients with selected acute medical illnesses who require acute hospital-level care," the authors conclude.

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