Avoiding hospital admission through provision of hospital care at home: a systematic review and meta-analysis of individual patient data. CMAJ, January 20, 2009; 180 (2). doi:10.1503/cmaj.081491.
Background: Avoidance of admission through provision of hospital care at home is a scheme whereby health care professionals provide active treatment in the patient’s home for a condition that would otherwise require inpatient treatment in an acute care hospital. We sought to compare the effectiveness of this method of caring for patients with that type of in-hospital care. Methods: We searched the MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and EconLit databases and the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group register from the earliest date in each database until January 2008. We included randomized controlled trials that evaluated a service providing an alternative to admission to an acute care hospital. We excluded trials in which the program did not offer a substitute for inpatient care. We performed meta-analyses for trials for which the study populations had similar characteristics and for which common outcomes had been measured.