Home hospitalization unit: an alternative to standard inpatient hospitalization from the emergency department.

Eur J Emerg Med. 2009 Jun;16(3):121-3. Salazar A, Estrada C, Porta R, Lolo M, Tomas S, Alvarez M. Hospital Mutua De Terrassa, Terrassa, Spain.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the characteristics of the patients admitted to a home hospitalization unit (HHU) after a first emergency department (ED) visit.

METHODS: This was a descriptive, retrospective study. The setting of the study was the ED of a 500-bed teaching hospital, which treats 125 000 emergency visits per year. HHU admits patients from the ED when hospitalization is imminent. Participants were all patients attending our ED from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2005 and finally admitted to HHU. Variables were age, sex, diagnostic, mean length of stay, and readmission rate.

RESULTS: A cohort composed of 250 patients admitted to HHU directly from the ED was identified. Mean age was 75 years. One hundred and fifty-eight were males (63%). The most common diagnoses were acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (127 of 250 patients, 50.8%), acute exacerbation of chronic heart failure (32 of 250 patients, 12.8%), pneumonia (24 of 250 patients, 9.6%), urinary tract infection (20 of 250 patients, 8%), and leg deep venous thrombosis (14 of 250 patients, 5.6%). Mean length of stay was 8 days. Readmission rate was 9%.

CONCLUSION: A HHU proved to be effective and safe for acutely ill individuals who required hospitalization.

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