This 10-month trial sought to determine whether home care for acutely psychotic patients is an efficient and cost-effective alternative to hospitalization. In the experiment, 10 nurses working in a regional health setting received training that enabled them to manage 37 acute care episodes in private homes. Only three clients required a brief hospitalization or readmission. In a departure from conventional practice, five patients initiated Clozapine therapy in the home. No home support or social work staff beyond that ordinarily available to clients was found to be required. Although operating cost savings were modest, such programs avoid capital costs for additional psychiatric beds. Six months after the project was completed, the Capital Health Region announced funding for a permanent, expanded service based on this model.
This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.