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Home Treatment Of Pneumonia Effective

Media Release
Monday September 12, 2005

Home Treatment Of Pneumonia As Effective As Hospital Care

Mild to moderately severe pneumonia has always been treated in hospital. Now research from the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, shows that in many cases home treatment is an effective alternative to being cared for in hospital for patients with this condition.

Patients also prefer home care of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), and it is more economic, costing only 75% of hospital-based treatment.

This novel research, just published in the Medical Journal of Australia, demonstrates the value of home-based care, when supported by experienced medical and nursing staff. The research has been carried out by Dr Dee Richards from the Department of Public Health and General Practice at the School, in partnership with Pegasus Health and the Canterbury Respiratory Research Group and is one of a number of studies being undertaken into the effectiveness of community health care.

In this study a randomised controlled trial examined 55 Emergency Department patients from Christchurch Hospital and found that mild to moderately severe pneumonia can be managed at home by primary care teams, given adequate resources.

“Although the median number of days to discharge was higher in the home care group at four days, compared to two days in hospital, there was no difference in the number of days on intravenous antibiotics or on subsequent oral antibiotics, “ says Dr Richards. “However the cost of care was significantly lower and patients were more satisfied with their care.”

The home care was arranged through Pegasus Health which covers 70% of GPs in Christchurch. The Pegasus Health Extended Care @ Home service provided extended medical and nursing care to patients in their homes.

“This a unique model of care which has been tested with patients with mild to moderate pneumonia cared for in their home by GP teams from first presentation in Emergency. It increases the skills and experience of GPs and nurses in managing acute patients in the home environment with good support from secondary care.”

This latest research shows that New Zealand and Christchurch are leading the way in community care of particular conditions. Dr Richards says home-based care offers a real alternative to inpatient care..

This research has been funded by Pegasus Health and the Canterbury District Health Board.


Department of Public Health and General Practice
Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago

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