Hospitalization, the standard venue for short-term medical care, may be hazardous for the elderly according to a study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine in September, 2009.* The study evaluated the feasibility and effectiveness of physician-managed home care for selected patients with acute decompensation of chronic heart failure. The prospective, single-blind, randomized trial followed patients 75 years or older who had been hospitalized. They were randomly assigned to a Geriatric Home Hospitalization Service or a general medical ward.
Overall Improved Status
Findings demonstrated no significant difference in the number of deaths or subsequent hospitalizations, but the mean time until the first additional admission was longer for the patients cared for in their own homes. Only the home patients experienced improvements in depression, nutritional status and quality-of-life scores.
The research concluded that home care is a viable alternative to traditional hospital inpatient care for elderly patients with acutely decompensated CHF.
*Arch Intern Med. 2009 Sep 28;169(17):1569-75.