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BACKGROUND: Admission avoidance hospital at home provides active treatment by healthcare professionals in the patient's home for a condition that would otherwise require acute hospital inpatient care, and always for a limited time period. This is the fourth update of this review. OBJECTIVES: To determine the effectiveness and cost of managing patients with admission avoidance hospital at home compared with inpatient hospital care. SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, Embase, and CINAHL on 24 February 2022, and checked the reference lists of eligible articles. We sought ongoing and unpublished studies by searching and WHO ICTRP, and by contacting providers and researchers involved in the field. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials recruiting participants aged 18 years and over. Studies comparing admission avoidance hospital at home with acute hospital inpatient care. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We followed the standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane and the Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) Group. We performed meta-analysis for trials that compared similar interventions, reported comparable outcomes with sufficient data, and used individual patient data when available. We used the GRADE approach to assess the certainty of the body of evidence for the most important outcomes. MAIN RESULTS: We included 20 randomised controlled trials with a total of 3100 participants; four trials recruited participants with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; two trials recruited participants recovering from a stroke; seven trials recruited participants with an acute medical condition who were mainly older; and the remaining trials recruited participants with a mix of conditions. We assessed the majority of the included studies as at low risk of selection, detection, and attrition bias, and unclear for selective reporting and performance bias. For an older population, admission avoidance hospital at home probably makes little or no difference on mortality at six months' follow-up (risk ratio (RR) 0.88, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.68 to 1.13; P = 0.30; I2 = 0%; 5 trials, 1502 participants; moderate-certainty evidence); little or no difference on the likelihood of being readmitted to hospital after discharge from hospital at home or inpatient care within 3 to 12 months' follow-up (RR 1.14, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.34; P = 0.11; I2 = 41%; 8 trials, 1757 participants; moderate-certainty evidence); and probably reduces the likelihood of living in residential care at six months' follow-up (RR 0.53, 95% CI 0.41 to 0.69; P < 0.001; I2 = 67%; 4 trials, 1271 participants; moderate-certainty evidence). Hospital at home probably results in little to no difference in patient's self-reported health status (2006 patients; moderate-certainty evidence). Satisfaction with health care received may be improved with admission avoidance hospital at home (1812 participants; low-certainty evidence); few studies reported the effect on caregivers. Hospital at home reduced the initial average hospital length of stay (2036 participants; low-certainty evidence), which ranged from 4.1 to 18.5 days in the hospital group and 1.2 to 5.1 days in the hospital at home group. Hospital at home length of stay ranged from an average of 3 to 20.7 days (hospital at home group only). Admission avoidance hospital at home probably reduces costs to the health service compared with hospital admission (2148 participants; moderate-certainty evidence), though by a range of different amounts and using different methods to cost resource use, and there is some evidence that it decreases overall societal costs to six months' follow-up. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Admission avoidance hospital at home, with the option of transfer to hospital, may provide an effective alternative to inpatient care for a select group of older people who have been referred for hospital admission. The intervention probably makes little or no difference to patient health outcomes; may improve satisfaction; probably reduces the likelihood of relocating to residential care; and probably decreases costs.

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Journal article


Cochrane Database Syst Rev

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Humans, Health Facilities, Hospitalization, Hospitals, Inpatients, Patient Discharge, Home Care Services