Bringing the hospital home has clear advantages for a target group of patients who are at high risk of secondary infections that are communicable through clinical settings. The affirmation offered by enablers who have advocated and implemented hospital at home programs to offer clinical care at their doorstep has stated that the dictum is favoring the program. It is one initiative that is set out to be embedded into the core healthcare system in the future for a lot of patients.
Why should the hospital-at-home model be considered?
Every patient need not be hospitalized and the hospitals need not be epitomized as the only delivery model for acute medical care. A few patients with low immunity are susceptible to iatrogenic infections that may arise after exposure to a clinical environment where other patients also frequent.
There are instances of small injuries that can be managed by engaging patients and educating them to take care of the precautions that help to heal. There can be other factors like new and unrelated functional impairment that occurs through a hospital stay.
There are other non-clinical factors like the inability to stay away from familiar surroundings that comfort a patient like family and pets at times when they are sick. Patients who suffer from ailments that need hospitalization but are stable can be considered to be taken care of at their homes.
How can a hospital-at-home program be enabled?
After a major healthcare facility decides to treat some of its patients at home it has to carry out certain steps for effective outreach of the program. These measure stated are:
- Identify the patients suitable for the program
The final call for the hospital at-home program should be that of a patient. It should not be forced but an informed decision after being informed about the quality of the care and similarities between clinical settings and home care.
Patients should be willing and comprehend the possibilities of the care at home. They should be in a position to communicate with their caregiver through telehealth services. The latest appliances to monitor their vital and biometric data will facilitate reviewing health and detect any adverse episodes for early intervention.
- Check the compatibility of the patient’s home
Every patient’s home may not be suitable for a hospital-at-home program. However, home-based care is determined by a clinical advisor, only after checking the conditions and appropriateness of the patient’s home environment. Home-based care does not necessarily mean that a healthcare professional will be available round-the-clock at home. Hence it is very important to assess if the patient’s house is suitable to offer home-based patient care under the medical conditions.
Advantages of the hospital-at-home programs
- Less turnaround time
It was observed by the hospitals that offered home-based care that overall time spent caring for patients is less for patients who opted for hospital-at-home programs than that for an in-person clinical visit.
The average time spent by clinical staff for every ambulatory and stable patient who walks in for hospital-like care is nearly three hours per patient. The time spent by nurses documenting the reports and going through the patient treatment plan is extended in hospitals because of individual fatigue as well. However, home-based patients have responded fast and have less turnaround time for their treatment plans. This is possible when caregivers can communicate clearly with their patients and engage them in their recovery process.
- Reduced costs
Hospitals are expensive in comparison to hospital-at-home care, wherein research has proved that acute patient care in the comfort of the home can be 52% less expensive than a hospital bill. With better patient engagement, consistent monitoring of biometric data with remote monitoring wearable devices, and connecting through virtual telehealth mode, the need for rehospitalization is reduced. In this manner instead of taxing the healthcare infrastructure, home-based care can minimize costs without compromising the safety of patient care.
One of the highest accounts for spending happens through healthcare subsidies for the government. If inflationary pressure and the requirements of affordable care need to be balanced, then all measures that can help in mitigating costs and risks have to be followed earnestly. Home-based hospital programs tick a lot of positives and gaining importance for those very reasons.