Vhi Healthcare today announced that Vhi HomeCare - its ‘hospital-in-the-home’ service – is set to achieve net savings of €11.7 million in the last two years by treating patients at home for services they would otherwise have had to occupy a hospital bed to receive. Since 2011, data from the health insurer shows that over 5,900 bed nights (or 61%) were freed up in Public hospitals alone. Vhi Healthcare added that the savings were achieved by selecting suitable patients from a limited area in Leinster and that further significant savings could be made by extending the area covered by the Vhi HomeCare scheme. The area from which Vhi Healthcare customers were selected extended from as far north as Ardee in Co Louth, to as far west as Kells in Co Meath and Newbridge in Co Kildare, and as far south as Greystones in Co Wicklow.
Since launching its own home care service in 2010, over 2,000 Vhi Healthcare customers have been treated in their home rather than in hospital. This equates to a saving of 22,775 hospital bed days and a financial saving of €11.7 million. The State insurer said that while treatment in the home will not be appropriate for all patients and all illnesses, there are a wide variety of conditions which would be suitable for this move. For example those who have had a knee or hip replacement, cystic fibrosis sufferers, or those recovering from an infection could all be discharged early and treated in their home.
Commenting on the proposal, John O’Dwyer, CEO, Vhi Healthcare said: “At a time when the health system is experiencing both financial and capacity pressure it is critical that we are more creative in how we approach the provision of excellent care to patients.”
Over the past two years Vhi HomeCare has been providing its homecare consultant-led services to a growing number of younger customers, for a wide range of conditions. Customers may avail of Vhi HomeCare from age 16 upwards and some typical services provided to young people include VAC therapy to help heal post-operative wounds, administration of intravenous antibiotics to treat severe urinary or respiratory tract infections, as well as the home treatment of osteomyelitis (bone infection).
John O’Dwyer added, “Our experience so far demonstrates that an early discharge home not only has financial benefits but it also has a positive impact on the patient as well as on his or her family. The vast majority of people who are recovering from illness or who suffer from an acute medical condition that needs ongoing management will prefer to be in the comfort of their own home. With the existence of acute home care services, such as Vhi HomeCare, this is now a real and valid option for people.”
“We have provided the service to a diverse range of patients over the past two years and it has been welcomed and praised by all. Our home care patients range from a teenager with a long-term illness to an elderly person who is recovering from an infection. When polled, some 99% of Vhi Healthcare patients who had availed of the Home Care service indicated that they had a positive experience and that it would be their preference to avail of this service again in the future.”
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