Objective: Despite widespread adoption of home care services, few randomised trials have compared health outcomes in the hospital and at home. We report a prospective, randomised trial of home versus hospital therapy in adults receiving intravenous (IV) antibiotics. Our objective was to show that home care is a feasible alternative to hospitalisation over a broad range of infections, without compromise to quality of life (QOL) or clinical outcomes.
Methods: Consenting adults requiring IV antibiotics were randomised to complete therapy at home or in hospital. Short Form 36 and Perceived Health Competence Scale (PHCS) were used for assessment of QOL. Statistical analysis used unpaired t-tests, Mann-Whitney tests and ANOVA.
Results: One hundred and twenty-nine admissions were referred. Recruitment was hampered by patient preference for one therapy over another. 82 (62%) were included and randomised: 44 to home, 38 to hospital; the two groups had comparable characteristics. There were no differences in improvements in QOL and PHCS scores between the two groups after treatment. Treatment duration was median 11.5 days (range 3-57) and 11 days (range 4-126) for home and hospital groups, respectively. Home therapy costs, approximately, half that of hospital therapy. Time to readmission was longer after hospital therapy.
Conclusion: Out study showed that home IV therapy is well tolerated, is less costly, is not associated with any major disadvantage to QOL or clinical outcomes compared to hospital therapy, and is an appropriate treatment option for selected patients.