The Bundled Hospital Elder Life Program-HELP and HELP in Home Care-and its association with clinical outcomes among older adults discharged to home healthcare


Aurora Research Institute, Ed Howe Center for Health Care Transformation, St. Luke's Medical Center, Aurora at Home, Senior Services, Department of Senior Services, Aurora Health Care


OBJECTIVES: To describe the Bundled Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP and HELP in Home Care), an adaptation of HELP, and examine the association of 30-day all-cause unplanned hospital readmission risk among older adults discharged to home care with and without Bundled HELP.

DESIGN: Matched case-control study.

SETTING: Two medical-surgical units within two midwestern rural hospitals and patient homes (home health).

PARTICIPANTS: Hospitalized patients, aged 65 years and older, discharged to home healthcare with and without Bundled HELP exposure between January 1, 2015, and September 30, 2017. Each case (Bundled HELP, n = 148) was matched to a control (non-Bundled HELP, n = 148) on Charlson Comorbidity Index, primary hospital diagnosis of orthopedic condition or injury, and cardiovascular disease using propensity score matching.

MEASUREMENTS: The primary study outcome was 30-day all-cause unplanned hospital readmission. Additional outcomes measured were 30-day emergency department (ED) visit, hospital length of stay (LOS), and total number of skilled home care visits.

RESULTS: Fewer cases (16.8%) than controls (28.4%) had a 30-day all-cause unplanned hospital readmission. The fully adjusted model showed significantly lower risk of 30-day hospital readmission for case (Bundled HELP) patients (0.41; 95% confidence interval = 0.22-0.77; P < .01). The difference between case (10.8%) and control (15.5%) 30-day ED visit was not significant (P = .23). A lower LOS for the case group was shown (P < .01), while the number of skilled home care visits was not significantly different between groups (P = .28).

CONCLUSION: HELP protocol implementation during a patient's hospital stay and as a continued component of home care among older adults at risk for cognitive and/or functional decline appears to be associated with favorable outcomes. Our initial evaluation supports continued study of the Bundled HELP. Further research is needed to confirm the initial findings and to evaluate the impact of the adapted model on functional outcomes and delirium incidence in the home. J Am Geriatr Soc 67:1730-1736, 2019.

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