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The Value Of Home Care After A Hospital Stay

August 18, 2010

According to a Canadian study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), seniors who received home care after being discharged from hospital for partial hip surgery (hemiarthroplasty) were 43 percent less likely to die in the three months following the procedure. However, unfortunately less than 16 percent of elderly patients discharged home after partial hip surgery in the study group received such home care. The study looked at 11,326 men and women aged 65 and older in Quebec who had partial hip surgery between 1997 and 2004. Those who were discharged with home care support were younger, more likely to have been treated in a teaching hospital and lower volume hospitals, and to have stayed more than 7 days in hospital. They were also more likely to have a trial fibrillation and acute renal failure. Men were at higher risk of death compared to women and those who stayed longer in hospital had increased survival rates. "Comorbidity, with the exception of a trial fibrillation and acute renal failure, did not seem to influence the likelihood of receiving home care after discharge," writes Dr. Elham Rahme, researcher in epidemiology at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre with coauthors. "This indicates perhaps that receiving this care may depend on availability, rather than need of the service." A report published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information shows that Quebec is the Canadian province that spends the least on home services, but has the highest number of home care requests. The authors conclude that their findings that homecare affects survival rates "has significant public health implications and requires further investigation." For more on home care after a hospital stay, and specifically how to choose the right company, see today’s feature, “Freedom Of Choice For Home Health Care: It’s The Law.”