Health economic studies on advanced home care
Abstract: The aim of this thesis was to examine the cost-effectiveness of specific advanced home care and home rehabilitation interventions and to improve economic evaluation methods when applied to advanced home care. This included a comparison of two alternative ways of administering oxygen at home to patients with chronic hypoxaemia, as well as a review of scientific evidence on costs and effects of home rehabilitation after stroke. Also included were studies on prominent methodological issues in advanced home care - the redistribution of care efforts among caregivers and costing of informal care efforts.For patients with chronic hypoxaemia, a randomised, controlled trial showed that mobile liquid oxygen was considerably more costly compared to concentrator treatment. However, the treatment effects showed that liquid oxygen had a better impact on patient quality of life. The literature review revealed that the outcomes and costs of home rehabilitation after stroke are equal to those of alternative treatment strategies. Similar results were obtained in a study comparing hospital-based and home-based stroke rehabilitation, which also showed that there is a considerable redistribution of costs between health care providers and social welfare providers. Studies of patients in advanced home care in the county of Östergötland, Sweden, showed that the cost of informal care constitutes a considerable part of the care effort in all costing approaches used. Also, informal care costs were higher among patients who were men, who were younger, who had their own housing and had a cancer diagnosis.This thesis reveals that advanced home care interventions can differ regarding costs as well as effects, and thus comparisons between alternative home care interventions must also be performed. Further, redistribution effects are important to consider in evaluations. The cost of informal care is substantial in advanced home care. These costs must be included in evaluations with a societal perspective or else the comparisons will be biased.
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