Hospital at home for elderly patients with acute decompensation of chronic heart failure: a prospective randomized controlled trial

Arch Intern Med. 2009 Sep 28;169(17):1569-75. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2009.267.


Background: Although the hospital is the standard venue for short-term medical care, it may be hazardous for older persons. This study was performed to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of a physician-led hospital-at-home service for selected elderly patients with acute decompensation of chronic heart failure (CHF).

Methods: Prospective, single-blind, randomized controlled trial with 6-month follow-up for patients 75 years or older admitted to the hospital from April 1, 2004, through April 31, 2005, for acute decompensation of CHF. Patients were randomly assigned to the general medical ward (n = 53) or to the Geriatric Home Hospitalization Service (GHHS; n = 48). The GHHS provides diagnostic and therapeutic treatments by hospital health care professionals in the home of the patient.

Results: Patient mortality at 6 months was 15% in the total sample, without significant differences between the 2 settings of care. The number of subsequent hospital admissions was not statistically different in the 2 groups, but the mean (SD) time to first additional admission was longer for the GHHS patients (84.3 [22.2] days vs 69.8 [36.2] days, P = .02). Only the GHHS patients experienced improvements in depression, nutritional status, and quality-of-life scores.

Conclusions: Substitutive hospital-at-home care is a viable alternative to traditional hospital inpatient care for elderly patients with acutely decompensated CHF. This type of care demonstrated clinical feasibility and efficacy in comparison with its alternative. Trial Registration Identifier: NCT00623571.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease
  • Depression
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Services for the Aged*
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Home Care Services, Hospital-Based*
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Readmission
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Single-Blind Method

Associated data