New program allows patients to be hospitalized in their own homes
A handful of hospital systems are trying new methods to improve quality of care while reducing costs. Some hospitals are testing hospital-level treatment at home with patients who would normally be placed in a hospital room.
Many patients and family welcome this alternative. The costs are usually the same as if they were physically in the hospital, and at discharge, there’s no need to go anywhere else.
Why seniors benefit from home hospitalization
Many seniors could be better off getting hospital care at home. Often, the added consequences of hospitalization force older adults to move to nursing homes.
It’s all too easy for seniors in hospitals to get new infections, lose critical muscle function from disuse, develop delirium, or have problems because less-acute chronic conditions get overlooked or mismanaged (like swallowing problems).
People with Alzheimer’s and dementia would especially benefit from home treatment. They can react badly to the sudden move to a loud and unfamiliar environment filled with strangers who don’t understand dementia. This often leads to increased fear and agitation, which can cause difficult or combative behaviors or added delirium.
How hospitalization at home works
Not all patients qualify for home hospitalization. For example, patients who have unstable vital signs, need to be in the intensive care unit, or need technology that can’t be adapted for home use must stay in the hospital.
Some conditions that have been identified for home hospitalization treatment:
- Heart failure
- Worsening symptoms of emphysema or COPD
- Certain types of pneumonia
- Cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection
The concept is still being tested, so these programs aren’t offered everywhere. But the studies on home hospitalization care have been promising.
They found that patients were hospitalized for shorter time periods, less likely to develop delirium, less likely to get sedative medications, and had lower treatment costs.
By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: Atlantic Private Care Services