First-Year Analysis of a New, Home-Based Palliative Care Program Offered Jointly by a Community Hospital and Local Visiting Nurse Service

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Abstract

Background:

There is a growing need for home-based palliative care services, especially for seriously ill individuals who want to avoid hospitalizations and remain with their regular outside care providers.

Aim:

To evaluate the effectiveness of Care Choices, a new in-home palliative care program provided by the Visiting Nurse Services of Northeastern New York and Ellis Medicine’s community hospital serving New York’s Capital District.

Methods:

This prospective cohort study assessed patient outcomes over the course of 1 year for 123 patients (49 men and 74 women) with serious illnesses who were new enrollees in the program. Quality of life was assessed at baseline and after 1 month on service. Satisfaction with care was measured after 1 and 3 months on service. The number of emergency department visits and inpatient hospitalizations pre- and postenrollment was measured for all enrollees.

Results:

Patients were highly satisfied (72.7%-100%) with their initial care and reported greater satisfaction (P < .05) and stable symptom management over time. Fewer emergency department (P < .001) and inpatient hospital admissions (P < .001) occurred among enrollees while on the palliative care service.

Conclusion:

An in-home palliative care program offered jointly through a visiting nurse service and community hospital may be a successful model for providing quality care that satisfies chronically ill patients’ desire to remain at home and avoid hospital admissions.

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