Harvard Heart Letter

Bringing hospital care home

A new movement called Hospital at Home aims to deliver high-quality care in the home.

Hospitals are going out of their way these days to make patients feel like they're at home. Here's a logical extension of these efforts: offering hospital-level care at home. That's the premise behind a movement called Hospital at Home. It is already established in Italy, the Basque region in Spain, and other parts of Europe. Now, several groups are trying to give it a toehold in the United States.

The concept is simple. Instead of admitting patients to a hospital for relatively straightforward conditions like worsening heart failure, pneumonia, or an infection like cellulitis, doctors and nurses administer treatments in the patient's home. New communication technologies coupled with the miniaturization and portability of ultrasound and x-ray machines, devices for delivering intravenous (IV) medications, and other advances are making it easier and safer to do this.

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