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‘There is no place like home’ Hospital at Home program expands to Vancouver

Health Minister says program already improving quality of care for eligible patients elsewhere
Health Minister Adrian Dix officially launched the Hospital at Home program in Vancouver. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel)

A program that allows eligible patients deemed in stable condition to receive acute-level care within their own four walls has officially expanded to Vancouver.

The voluntary Hospital at Home program is available for patients at Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, Mount St. Joseph Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital with a diagnosis like (but not limited) to sepsis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or dehydration.

Quoting the Wizard of Oz, Health Minister Adrian Dix said “there is no place like home” in making the case for program during its official launch Friday (April 12) in Vancouver.

“While everyone is extremely appreciative of the care they receive (at hospital), it’s also difficult…for everyone, for their families to be in hospital at all, away from home in unfamiliar surroundings,” he said.

While the program had first launched in Vancouver in March, B.C.’s largest city is a relative late-comer to the program.

It pioneered at Victoria General Hospital in November 2020. Since then, more than 2,100 patients have used the program through its two participating hospitals (VGH, Royal Jubilee Hospital) in the Island Health region. The corresponding figures for Northern Health Region, Fraser Health Region and Vancouver Coastal Health are 793, 244 and 102, Dix added.

“So I think we are going to see similar success here (in Vancouver),” Dix said.

RELATED: COVID-19: B.C.’s ‘hospital at home’ program to start in Victoria

Selected patients receive all the necessary equipment including monitoring equipment, daily visits from health care professionals including doctors and nurses and a virtual call-bell with which patients can alert care teams, Dix said. He added that patients can return to hospital if their conditions worsen.

The program gives patients the comfort and privacy of their homes, while reducing infection risks for themselves and others, he said.

While Dix acknowledged the program frees up hospital beds, he stressed that it is not “primarily about savings” but about improving quality of care. He pointed to survey statistics that show almost unanimous support for the program among patients, their families and health care professionals.

“This (program) improves patient care, it improves results,” he said.

He said the goal of government is to deliver better care to a growing population.

“Yes, I agree,” he said. “It’s important to free up hospital beds. But what we have to do is provide the best possible care and fundamentally this program is not about efficiencies or anything else. It’s our health care system, delivering the best possible care to people who need that care.”

Dix said the program has proven successful abroad with Island Health receiving a national health care award for its version

Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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