An issues paper prepared by researchers from the Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation (AusHSI) at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) also found home-based care would cut hospital readmission by a quarter.
The research was presented at a recent AusHSI ideas forum that brought together almost 100 leading clinicians, academics, policy makers, managers and carers.
The paper, which looked at home therapies including ‘hospital in the home’, renal dialysis and IV antibiotic use, found in many cases home-based care was better for the patient and more cost effective.
But cultural change in the health profession was needed to overcome uncertainty about quality, safety and funding and to ensure that home care providers were appropriately compensated.
Melissa McCusker, Nurse Unit Manager responsible for the Acute Care @ Home services of Brisbane’s QEII Hospital said that home treatment was not a new concept but it could be difficult for patients and staff to understand.
“There needs to be a good working relationship and trust among the whole healthcare team,” Ms 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.”