On the past several years there have been numerous concerns over shortages of staff and lack of beds in hospitals nationwide. As an alternative and an answer to the problem, many states, and in fact countries, have developed what is often referred to as “hospital at home” services that provide the same care to patients in a home environment instead of a hospital setting. With the availability of hospital equipment such as hospital beds, a pressure mattress overlay, and the ease of finding qualified at home professional practitioners it has become fairly easy to create a caring and medically sound environment for patients outside of the hospital. In order to determine the quality and validity of such services, studies have been initiated by several organizations to evaluate overall patient health, patient satisfaction and cost savings. Here are some of the results that were recorded.
Patients who were recovering from stroke did better in a hospital environment than an at home setting, for the first three months. The study showed a significant reduction in mortality rates, however, after six months for those patients provided with hospital at home care.
Overall, patients who were provided with a hospital at home setting for a variety of conditions were far more satisfied than those who remained in hospital. Studies were all in agreement that most people prefer to be cared for outside of a hospital and are more comfortable and satisfied in a home style environment.
Other trials noted that fewer patients in a home care setting developed other complications such as bowel or urinary complications.
For patients who were suffering with dementia, those who were receiving hospital at home care were less likely to be prescribed antipsychotic drugs.
For patients suffering from cellulite, there appeared to be no differences between the hospitalized patients and those receiving hospital at home care.
Patients who were being treated for COPD in a hospital at home care were prescribed antibiotics more often than those who were being treated in hospital.
The studies showed no significant differences among patients in or out of hospital when looking at their ability to perform day to day functions or in their cognitive abilities.
From an economic viewpoint, most hospital at home care programs were less expensive than hospital care.
It should be understood that, even with such studies, one should not preclude that hospital care is not as beneficial as home care in every situation, as hospital admittance is often necessary for the overall health of the patient. But where there is the possibility of a patient receiving adequate care in a home style setting, it can be more comfortable, satisfying, and cost effective.
It is also worth mentioning that the quality of services and personnel that provide the hospital at home care should be carefully selected and closely monitored, and that a primary care physician be in constant contact with patients and caregivers. It is not enough to merely assume that a patient is always better cared for at home or in a home style environment, than in a hospital.
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