Background and aim: Home care for patients under home mechanical ventilation (HMV) may cause dramatic physical and economic burden in addition to the burden of time on family/caregivers and health care service (HCS) with difficult resource allocation decision-making. Our aims were: 1. To identify conditions causing major care burden in managing HMV patients according to family and payer's perspectives related to characteristics of the disease, dependency and accessibility; and 2. To find, if any, differences among diseases.
Methods: A questionnaire was sent to eight pulmonary centres to identify factors connected with the greater care burden. Retrospective data of 792 patients still alive and in HMV was reviewed.
Results: Compared to neuromuscular disorders (NM) and chest wall deformities, the COPD group have presented a statistically greater number of hospitalisations/yr (1.37 +/- 0.77), greater length of stay (13 +/- 10 days), higher number of outpatient visits/yr (2.55 +/- 1.73) or emergency room accesses/yr (0.74 +/- 1.08). Patients with NM diseases need more home care. The prevalence of one, two and three among five selected burden criteria (needs of MV > 12 hrs/day, tracheotomy, high dependency, distance from hospital, frequent hospitalisations) was respectively 19%, 30% and 33% of the cases; the NM was the group most represented.
Conclusions: In HMV patients: 1. underlying disease, level of their dependency, hours spent under MV, presence of tracheotomy, home distance from hospital, hospital accesses are the causes of major care burden; and 2. as a novelty we have demonstrated that more than fifty percent of them present two or three contemporaneous criteria selected as care burden, being NM and COPD patients the most representative group necessitating of family's and HCS's care respectively.