Patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma require a significant amount of medical care and intervention, even if they choose a palliative course of treatment over a curative one. Surgical procedures meant to reduce pain and prolong life still require extensive hospital stays that add enormous expense while increasing patients’ misery. A recent study is supporting a shift from hospital-based care to a hospital-at-home model, reporting that it is just as effective while reducing costs and boosting patient health and satisfaction.
Mesothelioma Patients Could Benefit from Hospital-At-Home Model
Whether diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other type of cancer, patients frequently return to the hospital after discharge, as complications needing hospital-level care frequently arise. According to a study conducted by Kathi Mooney, PhD, RN of the Huntsman Cancer Institute and University of Utah in Salt Lake City, when patients are provided hospital-level care at home these unplanned hospitalizations occurred 55% less often and healthcare costs were 47% lower.
Writing in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Mooney and her colleagues reported, “Oncology hospital at home shows promise for provision of acute-level care to patients at home while simultaneously improving value and reserving inpatient beds and ED services for critically ill patients. Significant improvements in healthcare utilization may be achievable through oncology hospital-at-home programs. These benefits will only be realized if new payment models recognize the value of providing cancer care at home.”
Hospital-at-Home Model Previously Tested on Care for Other Diseases
After having proved effective in improving patient care for patients diagnosed with pneumonia, urinary tract infections and exacerbations of chronic diseases, the team turned to studying its use in those diagnosed with cancers like mesothelioma. Though current reimbursement models do not provide enough compensation to support intensive home-based care, the authors are suggesting that a shift to hospital-at-home would improve both outcomes and add value.
“Such programs could keep patients at home, provide services that would otherwise require hospitalization, and better control symptom fluctuations, while protecting immunosuppressed and frail patients with cancer from exposure to hospital-acquired bacterial and viral infections,” the researchers wrote. “Such programs also have the potential to reduce costs.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, finding ways to improve their quality of life in the face of staggering hospital bills is a real challenge. For resources and support, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.