Department of Health

Hospital in the Home

Key messages

  • Hospital in the Home provides acute admitted care to public hospital patients in the comfort of their home, or other suitable location. 
  • The Hospital in the Home guidelines outline service capability, best practice and good governance structures.
  • If you are a patient receiving care through a Hospital in the Home service and need help, please contact the Hospital in the Home service on the number you have been given or call the hospital’s emergency department.

Hospital in the Home (HITH) provides admitted care in the comfort of the patient’s home or other suitable location. 

Research findings demonstrate that patients have improved outcomes and recovery at home with fewer complications such as infection, delirium and confusion.

HITH is an alternative to an in-hospital stay. Patients are still regarded as hospital inpatients, and remain under the care of their hospital doctor. Care may be provided by nurses, doctors, or allied health professionals, and additional home supports arranged as required.

Patients can be offered this option if the care they need can be delivered safely in their home. Participation is voluntary and there is no additional charge to patients.

Funding

Like all acute admitted activity HITH admissions are funded as acute admitted patients. HITH is reported through Victorian Admitted Episodes Dataset (VAED) and subject to the same audit process and monitoring as other acute admitted activity.

People who can access Hospital in the Home

The admission criteria are governed by the department’s Victorian hospital admission policy. HITH can be accessed by any admitted patient of a public hospital who is:

  • assessed as being clinically stable
  • appropriately supported in the home; for example, by a carer or other appropriate person
  • living in a suitable environment with access to a telephone
  • suitable for treatment through HITH
  • willing to be treated through HITH.

    Referrals to Hospital in the Home

    Patients may be admitted to HITH in different ways, depending on their condition and treatment. Some patients may be directly admitted from the emergency department or the community. Patients may have a stay in hospital first, and continue their treatment through the hospital's HITH service.

    There are 49 HITH service sites across Victoria.

    Non-admitted alternatives for care

    If a patient does not meet the acute admission criteria but requires specialist care in the community, there are a range of services that may be appropriate that can be delivered in the home.

    Including Health Independence Program (HIP) services that aim to provide hospital substitution and diversion services by supporting people in the community, in ambulatory settings and in their homes.

    HIP focuses on improving and optimising people’s function and participation in activities of daily living to allow them to maximise their independence and return to, or remain in, their usual place of residence.

    Health Independence Programs include:

    • ambulatory rehabilitation
    • specialist assessment services
    • short-term supports
    • care coordination - short term or complex
    • complex psychosocial issues management
    • client self-management, education and support.

    Hospital in the Home guidelines

    In 1994 the HITH began as a pilot program as part of a strategy to provide patients with greater healthcare options by incorporating home-based care in an episode of acute care.

    In 2009 an independent review confirmed that HITH as a well-established model of care that is safe and effective and highly valued by patients, carers and staff.

    The current HITH guidelines published in 2011 outline appropriate governance, staffing models, policies and practices to deliver high-quality HITH services. Although the guidelines contain out-dated references to some community-based programs and funding systems much of the content remains current and should be used as a resource until updated guidance is published by the department.

    Contact details

    If you are a patient receiving care through a Hospital in the Home (HITH) service and need help, please contact the HITH service on the number they have given you or call the hospital’s emergency department.

    Information and support for health professionals relating to Hospital in the Home. Department of Health.

    Email: hospitalinthehome@health.vic.gov.au

    Reviewed 25 July 2022

    Health.vic

    Contact details

    If you are a patient receiving care through a Hospital in the Home service and need help, please contact the Hospital in the Home service on the number they have given you or call the hospital’s emergency department.

    Hospital in the Home Department of Health & Human Services

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