Background: Hospital in the Home (HIH) research is characterised by small samples in new programs. We sought to examine a large number of consecutive HIH admissions over many years in an established, medically-managed HIH service in to determine whether: (1) HIH is a safe and effective method of delivering acute hospital care, under usual operating conditions in an established unit; and (2) what patient, condition and treatment variables contribute to a greater risk of failure.
Methods: A survey of all patients admitted to a medically-managed HIH unit from 2000-2007.
Results: A total of 3423 admissions to HIH were examined. Of these 2207 (64.5%) were admitted directly into the HIH from Emergency Department or rooms, with the remainder admitted from hospital wards. A total of 26,653 HIH bed days were delivered. with a mean of 9.3 nursing visits and 4.1 medical visits per admission. A total of 143 patients (4.2%) required an interruption via an unplanned return to hospital; 106(3.1%) did not subsequently return to HIH. The commonest reason for unplanned returns to hospital were: no clinical improvement; cardiac conditions; fevers; breathlessness and pain. Patients over the age of 50, and those receiving intravenous antibiotic therapy, were more likely to require a return to patients died unexpected mortality rate of 0.15%.
Conclusion: This sample of HIH patients is five time the number of HIH patients ever enrolled in randomised trials studies of this area. Further, outcomes were achieved in 'ordinary' working conditions over a long time period. Care was completed without interruption (return to hospital) in 95.8% of all episodes. Interruption was associated with patients referred from impatient wars, older patients who were treated with intravenous antibiotics, Patients referred from Emergency Departments experienced fewer interruptions. Nursing home residents were no more likely to required an interruption to their HIH care.