Hospital at Home program – Victoria

Cindy E. Harnett / Times Colonist
November 15, 2020

Dr. Shauna Tierney, left, and Dr. Elisabeth Crisci are the two medical leads for the Hospital at Home pilot program that is based at Victoria General Hospital, with plans to roll out province-wide next year. Story, page 2 DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

[Excerpts} Dr. Elisabeth Crisci says when she first saw a man getting a blood transfusion in his living room as part of a home-based hospital-care program in Australia, she felt disoriented, but that quickly turned into a “lightbulb moment.”

Crisci is one of two physicians in charge of a new pilot program that launched with its first patient on Monday at Victoria General Hospital. It will allow eligible patients to receive treatment at home, rather than in hospital, with support from hospital-based doctors, acute-care registered nurses, and special equipment and technology.

The Hospital at Home program is based on similar programs in Australia and the United Kingdom.

“They’re in their own bed, they can eat their own food, and it just makes sense,” said Crisci, who saw the Hospital at Home model while training in Australia, where it is an established form of acute care. “I went into people’s homes and I saw patient after patient receiving the type of care that, here in Canada, we can only get when admitted to the hospital, and it was a true revelation.”

The voluntary program is targeted at acute-care patients who have been assessed by a doctor as being appropriate for the program, who have a caregiver at home, who require only a brief hospital stay, and who live within a short drive of the hospital. The catchment areas will vary from region to region. Only designated doctors will work in the program, which is billed as providing patients with in-person and virtual around-the-clock care.

In 2018, the B.C. Care Providers Association recommended the model to improve care for seniors, saying older adults with an acute illness would opt for “safe, high-quality, hospital-level care” in their homes rather than hospital, and similar programs have shown older acute-care patients cared for at home are less likely to experience clinical complications such as delirium and functional decline.

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