Effects of home-based intervention on unplanned readmissions and out-of-hospital deaths

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1998 Feb;46(2):174-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1998.tb02535.x.


Objective: To determine the effect of a home-based intervention (HBI) on the frequency of unplanned readmission and out-of-hospital death among patients discharged home from acute hospital care.

Design: A randomized controlled trial comparing HBI with usual care (UC).

Setting: A tertiary referral hospital servicing the northwestern region of Adelaide, South Australia.

Participants: Medical and surgical patients (n = 762) discharged home after hospitalization.

Intervention: Home-based intervention (n = 381) consisted of counseling of all patients before discharge followed by a single home visit (by a nurse and pharmacist) to those patients considered to be at high risk of readmission (n = 314) in order to optimize compliance with and knowledge of the treatment regimen, identify early clinical deterioration, and intensify follow-up of such patients where appropriate.

Measurements: The primary endpoint was the number of unplanned readmissions plus out-of-hospital deaths over a 6-month follow-up period.

Results: During the study follow-up, the major endpoint occurred most commonly in the UC group (217 vs 155 episodes: P < .001). Overall, the HBI group demonstrated fewer unplanned readmissions (154 vs 197: P = .022), out-of-hospital deaths (1 vs. 20: P < .001), total deaths (12 vs. 29: P = .006), emergency department attendances (236 vs 314: P < .001), and total days of hospitalization (1452 vs 1766: P < .001). There was a disproportionate reduction in multiple events among HBI patients (P = .035). Hospital-based costs of health care during study follow-up tended to be lower in the HBI group ($A2190 vs $A2680 per patient: P = .102). Mean cost of HBI was $A190 per patient visited, whereas other community-based health care costs were similar for both groups.

Conclusions: Among high-risk patients discharged from acute hospital care, HBI is beneficial in limiting unplanned readmissions and reducing risk of out-of-hospital death. It may be particularly cost-effective if applied selectively to patients with a history of frequent unplanned hospital admission.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Home Care Services, Hospital-Based*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mortality
  • Patient Readmission* / statistics & numerical data
  • South Australia