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Trajectories of care and outcomes of Veterans receiving home-based primary care.

Edwards ST, O'Neill A, Niederhausen M, Salvi A, Laliberte A, Saha S, Hynes DM, Pizer S, Kinosian B. Trajectories of care and outcomes of Veterans receiving home-based primary care. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2024 Jan 1; 72(1):80-90.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Veterans Affairs (VA) home-based primary care (HBPC) provides comprehensive longitudinal care to patients with complex, chronic disabling disease. While enrollment is associated with lower hospitalization rates and costs, detailed trajectories have not been well described. METHODS: We performed a longitudinal descriptive study of patients newly enrolled in VA HBPC in fiscal year (FY) 2015. We extracted demographics, comorbidities, functional status, and social supports from VA and Medicare data and examined patterns of care and clinical outcomes, including hospital, nursing home (NH), hospice use and mortality from FY2015-2017. We present results using descriptive statistics, alluvial plots, and heat maps. RESULTS: We identified 10,571 HBPC enrollees in FY2015; mean age was 77.7. HBPC patients commonly had chronic medical conditions with high self-management burden (e.g., diabetes 48.2%) and disabling conditions such as dementia (39.3%). Over half had 2 deficits in activities of daily living, 46% had caregivers with functional limitations or no caregiver, and 25% resided in a socially deprived area. Patients experienced variable care trajectories. Mean time enrolled in HBPC was 331 days, 8.3% of patients were discharged after 3 months, and 22.8% stayed enrolled for over 2 years. Institutional health care use declined in the 6 months after initial enrollment: (e.g., hospital: 41%-25%, NH: 34%-11%). At 2 years, 36% of patients had died; among decedents, 58% received hospice and 72% died in a non-institutional setting. In the last 180 days of life, 84% of time was spent at home, and once enrolled in hospice, 97% of time was spent outside of institutional care. CONCLUSIONS: HBPC patients experience highly variable care trajectories but on average have reductions in acute care use and spend a majority of time in non-institutional settings. These data allow for a nuanced understanding of HBPC, providing a platform for monitoring, evaluating, and improving program function.





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