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Hospital at Home

  • Hospital at Home is a program where eligible, medically stable patients get hospital-level care in their homes, instead of going to hospital.
  • A doctor, nurse, and other team members care for the patient using both in-person home visits and virtual visits (phone and/or video). The team also uses technology to monitor the patient.
  • Hospital at Home care is short-term (on average, 3-7 days) and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
  • Northern Health is currently trialing Hospital at Home in Prince George, through the University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC).

How it works

  • If you need to go to hospital and you’re eligible for the program, you might be asked if you’d like to use Hospital at Home. You might also be asked if you’d like to be part of Hospital at Home while you’re already in the hospital.
  • Using Hospital at Home is optional; we understand that you might prefer to go to hospital.
  • If you choose to use Hospital at Home, the care team will look after you both in person at your home, and by virtual care (phone/video). The team is made up of doctors, nurses, licensed practical nurses (LPN's), pharmacists, social workers and respiratory therapists.
  • Most of your care will happen in your home. However, you’ll still be registered as a hospital patient. If your condition gets worse, or if you need more tests or scans, your care team will help arrange transportation to the hospital.

A safe and effective way of care

  • Hospital at Home has been successful in other countries, including Australia and across Europe. Research shows that Hospital at Home is as safe as or safer than traditional hospital care.

Benefits of Hospital at Home:

  • You can sleep in your own bed
  • You’re in a comfortable, familiar environment
  • It’s a more patient-centred approach to hospital care
  • There are lower rates of hospital-based complications (e.g., infection, delirium, or blood clots)
  • It helps reduce the pressure on hospital beds and emergency departments

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Am I eligible for the Hospital at Home program?
  • Patients ages 19 and over with conditions such as infection, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, other short-term acute illnesses, and patients recovering from surgery may be eligible to participate. 
  • We'll ask you some questions to determine if you meet the requirements for the program:
    • Do you have a known diagnosis and are you clinically stable?
    • Are you unlikely to require multiple in-hospital tests, treatments or consultations?
    • Do you have a safe home environment and a caregiver in the home? 
    • Do you live close to the hospital?
  • When determining whether you are eligible for the program, your health and safety is always of the utmost importance. 

How can I be referred to the Hospital at Home program?
  • Referrals are being accepted through the UHNBC emergency department, inpatient units at UHNBC, family doctors, or surgeons. As the program evolves, this may change.
  • If you live in Prince George, your family doctor or surgeon will decide if you meet the requirements to be referred to the program.
  • If you’re eligible and willing to receive care through the program, the Hospital at Home care team will work with you to support your return home and share information about your care plan and how you’ll be supported in your home.

What are the benefits of the Hospital at Home program?
  • Hospital at Home type programs have been used in other organizations worldwide and have been shown to improve patients’ and families’ experiences of care. Research shows that Hospital at Home is as safe as or safer than traditional in-patient care.
  • A hospital stay can sometimes pose physical, cultural, financial, or psychological barriers to accessing care that, for some, can be reduced by being at home.
  • Receiving care at home can help minimize disruption to relationships with family, caregivers, and community, as well as disruption to other important parts of day-to-day life such as diet, sleep, and hobbies.
  • Hospital at Home gives patients and caregivers a choice about where they receive care.
  • Eligible patients and caregivers, along with the care team, can decide if Hospital at Home is appropriate for them.
  • The program effectively adds more hospital beds to our health care system. In Prince George, we will add nine additional beds, with the goal of creating more capacity at UHNBC.

Where in Northern Health will Hospital at Home be available?
  • Hospital at Home will first launch through the University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC) in Prince George, with additional sites being determined later.
  • Beginning March 15, 2021, there was an 8-week prototype in Prince George where the team admitted a small number of patients and tested processes. During this time we admitted, cared for, and discharged 36 patients.

I don’t have a computer / I’m not familiar with technology. Is that a problem?
  • All the technology that’s needed will be set up in your home when you’re referred to the Hospital at Home program. 
  • You don't need a computer, tablet, or mobile device. 
    • All you need is a working cellphone or landline phone.

What happens if my condition gets worse? Will I be admitted to hospital?
  • Your condition will be regularly monitored and assessed, and your treatment plan will be updated accordingly. If your condition worsens to the point where it becomes unstable, you’ll be transferred to the hospital.
  • Because you’re already admitted to the hospital as part of the program, you can bypass the emergency department and go straight to the appropriate inpatient unit (unless you need emergency care).
  • You and your caregiver will be given clear information on who they should contact if they have concerns.