Some health professionals in the acute sector may be apprehensive when it comes to releasing patients into the healthcare in the home system but it may be the best move for the patient.
This is a key point raised by speakers at the Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation’s (AusHSI) recent forum, Taking Healthcare Home.
To inform debate at the forum, the Centre produced an issues paper of the same name that compares hospital treatment with acute and chronic treatment services in the home.
The paper found that, in many cases, it was better for the patient and more cost effective to provide treatment at home than in hospital and that cultural change in the health profession was needed to overcome uncertainty about quality and safety.
Forum speaker Melissa McCusker, nurse unit manager responsible for the Acute Care @ Home services of QEII Hospital in Brisbane, said home treatment is not a new concept but it can be difficult for patients and staff to understand.
“There needs to be a good working relationship and trust among the whole healthcare team,” McCusker said. “Besides the cost savings, patients often prefer being at home and there can be other benefits like a reduced risk of hospital acquired/cross infection, medication errors and decreased patient depression and anxiety.”
AusHSI academic director professor Nick Graves said healthcare in the home is a priority for the government because of its potential to improve patient flow, meet national emergency access targets and increase capacity within the healthcare system.
Graves added: “When you are in hospital there are more opportunities for complex, costly and often unnecessary investigations and treatments to happen.”
Aged Care Insite spoke with McCusker (above) and Graves (below) about the benefits and challenges associated with healthcare in the home and what its future might hold.Do you have an idea for a story?
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