Program at Home: A Veterans Affairs Healthcare Program to Deliver Hospital Care in the Home

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The Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center (PVAMC) participated in a research-based National Demonstration and Evaluation Study of Hospital at Home Care for Elderly Patients. PVAMC continued hospital at home care in a modified form based on the results of that research phase and feedback from patients, families, and staff. The modified clinical program (referred to as Program @ Home) provided care for the same diagnoses (exacerbation of congestive heart failure, exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, community-acquired pneumonia, cellulitis) but differed from the research-based demonstration project in that it accepted patients of all ages, accepted early-discharge patients from the hospital, and provided a less-intensive physician and nursing model. In the first 42 months, 290 patients were admitted; 23% came from the emergency room, 54% were early hospital discharge, and the remainder came from an outpatient clinic or home care. Average length of stay was 3.2 days, and 37% were younger than 65. The results describe how a home hospital program has been integrated into the clinical care offerings of a managed care health system and how it supports inpatient, primary, emergency, and home care programs.

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