Island Health seeks public input for Hospital at Home

Island Health has launched a survey for patients, family caregivers, and health-care providers to inform the evaluation and refinement of the Hospital at Home program.

From now until December 31, 2020, the Hospital at Home project team will be seeking input from patients, family caregivers, health-care providers and administrators. For more information and to complete the online survey, please visit the Hospital at Home website: www.islandhealth.ca/hospital-at-home

Feedback collected through the engagement process will directly inform the development of a robust evaluation plan and the refinement of the Hospital at Home program for broader roll out across the province. Following the engagement process, a summary of what was heard will be posted on the project website. 

“Providing access to the highest-quality patient care, at the patient’s convenience, is an excellent step in addressing access challenges to health care,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “Projects like Hospital at Home represent the drive and commitment of our health system to meet patient needs, whenever, wherever we can.”

“We are committed to ensuring that patient, family caregiver and clinician voices are represented in this project,” says Dr. Sean Spina, lead researcher out of Royal Jubilee Hospital. “We believe that Hospital at Home can effectively deliver acute care in a home environment, and we want to ensure we understand what success looks like for British Columbians.”

The Hospital at Home team will study the feasibility and impact of implementing the program in one hospital in a B.C. health region to inform clinical and health system responses in the context of COVID-19. The team and all partners are committed to ensuring that the success of the program is informed by patients, caregivers, and the clinicians who will be providing remote and in-person acute care to patients in their own homes.

“As a clinician, I am excited about the opportunity to provide hospital-level care in a patient’s own home,” says Dr. Elisabeth Crisci, Medical Co-Lead, Hospital at Home. “We wanted to offer a viable alternative to standard hospital care that not only enhances the patients’ care experience but also offers a partial solution to the issues around bed capacity.” 

Hospital at Home Background: 
Hospital at Home was a pre-COVID-19, clinician-led initiative which was planned to take place as a small pilot in Victoria, BC; however, the pandemic has resulted in a commitment to roll the program out in each regional health authority. Through in-person health-care team visits and a variety of technology-enabled features, health-care providers will be able to provide care for nine “virtual” patient beds to start out of Victoria General Hospital (VGH). Patients must meet a number of criteria to be eligible for the voluntary prototype program, including:
•    19 years old or older
•    Living within the geographic catchment area (16-minute drive from VGH, based on postal code)
•    Caregiver living in home
•    Safe home environment as determined by admitting physician
•    Phone and refrigerator at home

A number of clinical criteria must also be met to ensure that patients can be safely cared for in their home, which include patients: 
•    Being clinically stable, 
•    Having a known diagnosis, and 
•    Expected to have a hospital length of stay less than seven days. 

Hospital at Home has been successfully implemented internationally (New Zealand, the UK, Australia, and some European countries) as an alternative for in-hospital acute care services. Evidence has shown that this model of care is successful in achieving equal quality and safety related to health outcomes, with higher levels of patient experience/satisfaction compared to traditional in-hospital acute care.   

Physicians participating in the development of Hospital at Home were supported primarily through the Health System Redesign Initiative supported by three Joint Collaborative Committees of Doctors of BC and the Ministry of Health: Shared Care, Specialist Services, and General Practice Services Committees. Additional support was provided through the Facility Engagement Initiative.

Central/North Island media inquiries:
Dominic Abassi
250-755-7966
Dominic.Abassi@viha.ca

Cowichan/South Island media inquiries:
Cheryl Bloxham
250-370-8878
Cheryl.Bloxham@viha.ca