IN-HOME CARE: IMPROVING CARE OUTCOMES IN OPTIMAL SETTINGS
Determining which care setting is most appropriate includes taking into account the overall well-being of patients. Home is a more comfortable, familiar setting, for starters. Also, patients aren’t exposed to dangerous antibiotic-resistant infections that may be found in hospitals. While patients with chronic conditions need regular care, that care can often be delivered at home by nurses and other healthcare professionals who coordinate with the patient’s doctor potentially using m-heath or e-health tools. Regular, reliable home care ensures changes in their condition can be caught early on and their treatment can be quickly adjusted. The result: better-managed conditions and fewer hospitalisations.
Caring for patients in the most optimal setting can also help control costs by freeing up hospital resources for acute patients.
Patient-centric integrated care in community and home settings can vastly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of hospitals. By moving non-acute care outside the hospital setting, hospitals can focus on treating acute illnesses for a short period of time. And since in-home care can provide better patient outcomes, fewer people will require hospitalisation due to poorly-managed conditions.
One of the best examples of how integrated care results in hospital efficiency comes from Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s pioneers in integrated community care. In the Kaiser Permanente system, patients move smoothly from clinic to hospital or from primary care to secondary care. Kaiser Permanente provides more care out of hospitals by using large medical centres, rehabilitation and community care. As a result, compared with the UK’s National Health Service, Kaiser Permanente uses two-thirds fewer hospital bed days for people with common conditions such as hip fracture and stroke.
Spotlight on Prevention: When, Who and How?
Unhealthy lifestyles and lack of physical activity are key factors in the development of chronic diseases. Early prevention and diagnosis, better education, and above all collaboration among governments, patient organizations, and industry are crucial to prevent chronic diseases from arising.