Home Is Where the Health Is: Four Reasons Patients Recover Faster in Their Own Space

During the last year, our homes have become a sanctuary for safety, sustained health, and healing. More than ever, we are relying on our residence to be a space for everything from a workplace to classroom. While staying safe and healthy at home is a song we have all sung together during the COVID-19 pandemic, the home is becoming more commonplace for acute care patients to receive treatment. There are four main reasons that patients recover faster in the comfort of their own home.

  1. Lowers the risk of infection and injury. Receiving hospital-level care in the home is proven to increase positive outcomes for patients, including lowering the risk of infection or injury sometimes acquired in an acute care facility. This is especially true in the age of COVID-19 when patients are at higher risk for coronavirus transmission in the hospital. Moreover, the home hospital setting provides a better environment to promote mental health and nutrition, among other benefits. The home naturally provides the health benefits we may take for granted and that a hospital setting may not always be capable of providing. Being the most familiar environment, the home offers securities that can prevent physical injury. We know exactly where everything is where we live. When we get up at night, we know how far the bed sticks out into our walking path, and we know that the noise we may have heard was just the ice maker and nothing to worry about.
  1. Increases patient’s mental response to healing. The mental security we have at home provides the best healing environment to get enough rest, physical activity and adequate nutrition. Contessa’s patient self-reported PROMIS data shows that patients feel better, mentally and physically, following a home hospital stay. Many factors, including familiar food and the ability to move around freely, impact patients’ mental and physical responses to healing at home. Not being in a physical hospital also removes the perception that one has become so ill or regressed so severely that one has to be in an acute care facility. The peace of mind of being at home goes further than imaginable.
  2. Patient-centered care delivered on a schedule. Home hospital care is not a one-size-fits-all model. A recovery care coordinator manages each patient’s episode with a care plan tailored to their specific needs. Nursing visits and virtual doctor appointments are typically set ahead of time. The patient’s vitals and biometrics are monitored regularly. These practices translate into fewer interruptions in a patient’s day, allowing more time for rest and sleep, which are vital to the healing process.
  3. Social interaction and caregiver support. Being surrounded by loved ones is proven to have a positive impact on well-being. Positive interactions and 24/7 support are invaluable motivators for recovery. Most hospitals are limiting visitors during the pandemic and adhere to visiting hours when not in the midst of a public health emergency. Being at home alleviates these limitations.

Along with these less commonly considered benefits of hospital at home models, the model of care offered through programs like Contessa and our partners is proven to lower readmission rates and improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. Admission into a home hospital model has time and time again proven beneficial for all involved. We are more certain than ever, for appropriate patients, that the home is the best place to receive quality healthcare.

Disclaimer: The author of this post, geriatrician Mark Montoney, MD, was previously Contessa’s Chief Medical Officer. Though he is retired and no longer with the organization, the information in this article is clinically accurate and verified.