Be Ready to Play a Role in Hospital-at-Home Care

More healthcare systems will offer "hospital-at-home" care...as the COVID-19 pandemic puts pressure on capacity.

Think of it as inpatient services for moderately ill patients who can be safely treated and monitored in their own home.

Hospital-at-home can deliver quality care...reduce overall cost and length of stay...and improve patient satisfaction.

Be aware that it will blend in-person and remote care. At least two in-person visits per day by a nurse or paramedic are required...and virtual care may be added, such as remote rounding.

Expect pharmacy to play a role in hospital-at-home care...but that models will vary.

For instance, a "virtual patient care unit" may be created in the EHR...and inpatient processes (cart fill, etc) used to prep meds for delivery to a patient's home.

Or an infusion or long-term care pharmacy may dispense the meds.

Keep in mind, state pharmacy law will drive some processes.

For example, hospital-at-home meds may need to be labeled as outpatient Rxs...with the prescriber's name, dispense date, etc.

If needed, familiarize yourself with pharmacy policies and procedures for your hospital's program.

For instance, only ORAL controlled substances may be allowed for hospital-at-home patients. And clinicians disposing of them in the home may require a remote witness.

Don't be surprised if other pharmacy services are integrated into hospital-at-home care...including telehealth for med histories.

Get our FAQ, Considerations for Hospital-at-Home Care, for more answers.

Key References

  • Ann Intern Med. 2020 Jan 21;172(2):77-85
  • Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Sep 1;9(9):CD007491
  • https://www.ashp.org/advocacy-and-issues/key-issues/hospital-at-home (10-29-21)
Hospital Pharmacy Technician's Letter. November 2021, No. 371122



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