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Vancouver patients can now receive acute care in their own home through the Hospital at Home program

On April 12, Health Minister Adrian Dix joined PHC and VCH teams for the launch of Hospital to Home in the Lower Mainland.

Patients are benefiting from convenient, safe, and timely acute-level care from the comfort of their own home as the Hospital at Home program launches in several Vancouver hospitals, including Providence Health Care’s St. Paul’s and Mount Saint Joseph hospitals.

Hospital at Home is an internationally recognized model that is both safe and effective, and is designed to improve patient comfort, privacy and independence. The teams include doctors, registered nurses, pharmacists, occupational and physiotherapists, and speech-language pathologists, among others. Other specialists may be provided as needed so care is tailored to a patient’s individual needs.

Patients need to meet certain criteria

Eligible patients at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), UBC Hospital (UBCH), St. Paul’s Hospital (SPH) and Mount Saint Joseph Hospital (MSJ) can choose to receive acute care in their own home rather than the hospital, if deemed safe and appropriate.

“Patients need to meet certain criteria, including living within the boundaries of the city of Vancouver,” said Dr. Jonathan Dick, Hospital at Home medical lead, Providence Health Care. “This ensures patients can get back to the hospital setting quickly if needed and care providers spend minimal time on the road.”

Dr. Jonathan Dick, Hospital at Home medical lead, Providence Health Care

The program is currently open to qualifying patients at VGH, UBCH, SPH and MSJ who have a diagnosis such as (but not limited to) sepsis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or dehydration.

Qualifying patients must be medically and geographically appropriate for the program and participation is voluntary. While in the Hospital at Home program, patients have a virtual call bell and phone number to connect with their care team 24/7. If patients no longer want to participate in the program or their condition changes, the health authority will coordinate their transfer back to the hospital.

A benefit to the health care system

Since March 2024, the Hospital at Home program has supported up to 18 patients at a time in Vancouver. A total of 50 St. Paul’s Hospital and Mount Saint Joseph Hospital patients have been seen as part of the program since it launched.

“Giving patients the option to receive safe and individualized care in their own homes not only helps with the recovery of the patient, but it also benefits the health-care system,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Piloted in the Island Health’s hospitals, the Hospital at Home program has had remarkably successful results. As our government is committed to strengthening people’s access to high-quality health services, the launch of this program in the Lower Mainland will help improve care at Vancouver hospitals.”

Health care teams make daily visits

Multidisciplinary teams of health care professionals make daily visits to patients at their own homes. Patients receive one visit a day from the Hospital at Home nurses, who are also available to patients 24/7 for consultation and check-ins. Other members of the Hospital at Home team are also available to provide virtual visits.

Care teams provide services, including medication management, blood draws, IV therapy and supplemental oxygen. Transfers to hospital can be arranged for services provided only in-hospital.

“The biggest benefit of Hospital at Home we hear from our patients is that they get to recover in their own home,” says Dr. Iain McCormick, Hospital at Home medical lead, VGH. “Patients have a lot of support wrapped around them, including daily in-person visits and a mix of virtual and wearable monitoring technologies.”

Through a partnership with Evo Car Share, all registered hospital staff have access to a vehicle to visit patients each day, with in-person and virtual visits from doctors and other health-care providers, as required.

Quick facts:

  • Data from B.C.’s first Hospital at Home program in Island Health, which launched in 2020, shows that with its 18 Hospital at Home beds, Island Health has been able to provide more than 17,500 beds since its launch.
  • An evaluation after the first year of Island Health HaH service found:
    • 99 per cent of patients would recommend Hospital at Home to family and friends;
    • 98 per cent of caregivers would recommend Hospital at Home and felt confident as a caregiver; and
    • all the staff would recommend Hospital at Home to friends and family.
  • Demonstrated outcomes of Hospital at Home include, but are not limited to:
    • improved patient comfort, privacy and independence;
    • improved caregiver satisfaction and involvement; and
    • decreased risk of hospital-acquired delirium, infections and mortality.

This story was adapted from a Government of BC news release.