Introduction: The study objective was to explore emergency physicians’ awareness, willingness, and prior experience regarding transitioning patients to home-based healthcare following emergency department evaluation and treatment; and to explore patient selection criteria, processes, and services that would facilitate use of home-based healthcare as an alternative to hospitalization. Methods: We provided a five-question survey to 52 EPs, gauging previous experience referring patients to home-based healthcare, patient selection, and motivators and challenges when considering home-based options as an alternative to admission. In addition, we conducted three focus groups and four interviews. Results: Of participating EPs, 92% completed the survey, 38% reported ordering home-based healthcare from the ED as an alternative to admission, 90% ranked cellulitis among the top three medical conditions for home-based healthcare, 90% ranked “reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and observation stays” among their top three perceived motivators for using home-based care, and 77% ranked “no existing process in place to refer to home-based care” among their top three perceived barriers. Focus group and interview themes included the need for alternatives to admission; the longer-term benefits of home-based healthcare; the need for streamlined transition processes; and the need for highly qualified home-care staff capable of responding the same day or within 24 hours. Conclusion: The study found that EPs are receptive to referring patients for home-based healthcare following ED treatment and believe people with certain diagnoses are likely to benefit, with the dominant barrier being the absence of an efficient referral process.
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