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.
In-home care’s advantages reflect the benefits of a quality, sustainable, patient-centric health system. These include better care for more satisfied patients, significant savings through more efficient use of medical human resources, moving treatment from hospitals to community integrated care networks, as well as creative application of new technologies to empower patients to be true partners in their own care.
To take one striking and very recent example, The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement reported that the number of hospitalizations for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, (COPD), can be cut by up to 80% when healthcare is provided to patients and to their families at home.
The dramatic findings result from a move from $1,000 a day treatment in hospitals, averaging 6.4 days per patient, to $1,000 per patient per year through home-based programs. Nurse educators visit the patients twice at home and call them four times, educating patients on such topics as how to use an inhaler, when to take medication, physical exercise, nutrition, and tips for managing depression. Net savings for COPD care in Toronto alone over five years could reach $263 million.
EU White Paper
In-home COPD care improves life, saves money, The Toronto Star, June 22, 2016
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.