Objective: To assess the practicality, safety, cost effectiveness and outcome of receiving intravenous antibiotics at home.
Methods: Patients with serious bacterial infections requiring parenteral antibiotic therapy were enrolled in a pilot program to receive treatment at home. Antibiotics were premixed in the hospital pharmacy and administered by the Royal District Nursing Service, and medical back-up was provided.
Results: Twenty patients (mean age, 58 years; range, 19-84 years) received 21 courses of intravenous antibiotics at home (mean duration +/- SD, 26 +/- 9 days; range, 11-44 days). Conditions treated included osteomyelitis (10 patients), endocarditis (5), vascular graft and pacemaker sepsis (4), and chronic cellulitis (1). Treatment at home was well tolerated with no significant complications, and cure was achieved in 18 of the 20 patients. It was both efficient and cost effective, with a mean benefit in treatment costs between home and the equivalent inpatient therapy of at least $112 per day for the 538 days that home therapy was provided. Moreover, the reduced bed use could allow an additional hospital throughput of between 86 and 107 patients annually.
Conclusions: Home intravenous antibiotic therapy is safe, effective and well tolerated. It allows more efficient inpatient care and reduces total treatment costs in an important subpopulation of patients.