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OBJECTIVES: To examine the cost of providing hospital at home in place of some forms of inpatient hospital care. DESIGN: Cost minimisation study within a randomised controlled trial. SETTING: District general hospital and catchment area of neighbouring community trust. SUBJECTS: Patients recovering from hip replacement (n=86), knee replacement (n=86), and hysterectomy (n=238); elderly medical patients (n=96); and patients with chronic obstructive airways disease (n=32). INTERVENTIONS: Hospital at home or inpatient hospital care. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Cost of hospital at home scheme to health service, to general practitioners, and to patients and their families compared with hospital care. RESULTS: No difference was detected in total healthcare costs between hospital at home and hospital care for patients recovering from a hip or knee replacement, or elderly medical patients. Hospital at home significantly increased healthcare costs for patients recovering from a hysterectomy (ratio of geometrical means 1.15, 95% confidence interval 1.04 to 1.29, P=0.009) and for those with chronic obstructive airways disease (Mann-Whitney U test, P=0.01). Hospital at home significantly increased general practitioners' costs for elderly medical patients (Mann-Whitney U test, P<0.01) and for those with chronic obstructive airways disease (P=0.02). Patient and carer expenditure made up a small proportion of total costs. CONCLUSION: Hospital at home care did not reduce total healthcare costs for the conditions studied in this trial, and costs were significantly increased for patients recovering from a hysterectomy and those with chronic obstructive airways disease. There was some evidence that costs were shifted to primary care for elderly medical patients and those with chronic obstructive airways disease.

Original publication

DOI

10.1136/bmj.316.7147.1791

Type

Journal article

Journal

BMJ

Publication Date

13/06/1998

Volume

316

Pages

1791 - 1796

Keywords

Adult, Aged, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee, Elective Surgical Procedures, England, Family Practice, Female, Health Care Costs, Home Care Services, Hospital-Based, Hospital Costs, Hospitals, District, Humans, Length of Stay, Lung Diseases, Obstructive, Male, Middle Aged, Sensitivity and Specificity