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Short Stay Unit at Home, an alternative to Conventional Hospitalization


Beatriz Rodriguez ,

Hospital Universitario Infanta Leonor, Spain, ES
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Sara Vinat Prado,

Hospital Universitario Infanta Leonor, Spain, ES
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Rebeca Parada Lopez,

Hospital Universitario Infanta Leonor, Spain, ES
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Maria Mir Montero,

Hospital Universitario Infanta Leonor, Spain, ES
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Carlos Bibiano Guillen

Hospital Universitario Infanta Leonor, Spain, ES
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Given the increasing need for healthcare in hospitals, keeping high standards and efficiency of medical attention for a constantly growing population poses important challenges.

Our team, formed by ER staff from Infanta Leonor University Hospital (ILUH), designed and launched a pilot project of great value: offering new tools on the basis of existing medical and social knowledge, it solves various issues in nowaday healthcare system.

The issues our project addresses are:

1. diminishing pressure of excessive number of patients on the hospital attendance system, thus

 2. improving the efficiency and quality of hospitals’ healthcare infrastructure

3. reducing/ eliminating patients’ risk of contracting nosocomial infections inside the hospital

4. improving patients’ self-care using digital technology

The program we designed – SSU-at-Home (SSUH) – is based on a preexisting structure of a Short Stay Unit (SSU) implemented in ILUH already before the breakout of COVID-19 epidemic. SSU is an alternative to conventional hospitalization for patients who require a hospital stay no longer than 72-96 hours. The SSU experience was our springboard for starting the SSUH in May 2021.

SSUH rests on 3 pillars:

1. Tele-healthcare, i.e. implementation of digitized data collection devices as a cohesive element between the healthcare professionals at the hospital and the patient at home, involving shared and remote medical expertise.

2. Personalized healthcare, adapted to the patients’ pathologies and specific needs.

3. Fostering patient’s self-care thus avoiding unnecessary medical visits and optimizing health attendance resources.

The patients fit for SSUH healthcare are required to give their consent. A specific care plan is developed for each patient/pathology. Before transferring the patients to their homes, corresponding self-care training is offered and the use of medical devices/ remote patient-control unit are taught.

Remote patient control is carried out by the use of telemonitoring devices: it is the patients who take their vital signs and fill in their daily symptom questionnaires in order for the SSUH professionals to monitor the evolution of the disease. These data are fed into a web environment, generating a series of alarms for early warning of any adverse event. Daily medical assessment prioritizes video calls over home visits without compromising either security or medical quality of therapeutic compliance and medical follow-up.

In 16 weeks 32 patients have been admitted to SSUH, diagnosed as following: 7 COPD exacerbation, 3  community-acquired pneumonia, 5  acute diverticulitis, 16 urinary tract infections, 1 cellulitis. Average age  46 years; 47% presented risk factors. The follow-up during their admission involved 90 video calls and a variety of face-to-face medical assessments (173): 45  performed at the hospital prior to home admission, 47  at home, 81  at home by nurses. Mean stay 4.72 days before the discharge. One patient only required conventional hospitalization. No mortality reported among these patients.

With these results, we claim that the SSUH pilot project presents adequate levels of safety and satisfaction among patients in this program. To consolidate this new method of medical assistance, we need to increase the number of patients and the range of pathologies treated

How to Cite: Rodriguez B, Vinat Prado S, Parada Lopez R, Mir Montero M, Bibiano Guillen C. Short Stay Unit at Home, an alternative to Conventional Hospitalization. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2022;22(S3):408. DOI:
Published on 04 Nov 2022.


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