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Eur Respir J. 2003 Jan;21(1):58-67.

Home hospitalisation of exacerbated chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients.

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Servei de Pneumologia (ICPCT), Hospital Clinic, IDIBAPS, Barcelona, Spain.


It was postulated that home hospitalisation (HH) of selected chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations admitted at the emergency room (ER) could facilitate a better outcome than conventional hospitalisation. To this end, 222 COPD patients (3.2% female; 71+/-10 yrs (mean+/-SD)) were randomly assigned to HH (n=121) or conventional care (n=101). During HH, integrated care was delivered by a specialised nurse with the patient's free-phone access to the nurse ensured for an 8-week follow-up period. Mortality (HH: 4.1%; controls: 6.9%) and hospital readmissions (HH: 0.24+/-0.57 controls: 0.38+/-0.70) were similar in both groups. However, at the end of the follow-up period, HH patients showed: 1) a lower rate of ER visits (0.13+/-0.43 versus 0.31+/-0.62); and 2) a noticeable improvement of quality of life (delta St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), -6.9 versus -2.4). Furthermore, a higher percentage of patients had a better knowledge of the disease (58% versus 27%), a better self-management of their condition (81% versus 48%), and the patient's satisfaction was greater. The average overall direct cost per HH patient was 62% of the costs of conventional care, essentially due to fewer days of inpatient hospitalisation (1.7+/-2.3 versus 4.2+/-4.1 days). A comprehensive home care intervention in selected chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations appears as cost effective. The home hospitalisation intervention generates better outcomes at lower costs than conventional care.

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