Health No place like home

No place like home

There’s nothing more heartbreaking for parents than a sick child in hospital but new research from The University of Melbourne shows they might be better off at home.

Children presenting at emergency departments are often admitted to hospital to stay overnight, or longer, and are most commonly admitted if they need to be treated with antibiotics.

Treatment with antibiotics is delivered most effectively via a drip, rather than tablets which can be swallowed at home.

But researchers at The University of Melbourne wondered why intravenous treatment couldn’t happen at home as well.

As it turns out, it can. All that’s needed is a visit from a doctor and a nurse.

That might sound expensive but a trial conducted by the university found the opposite. It actually saved money, both for families and the hospital.

More importantly, it also proved just as effective, if not more so.

In the trial, children who stayed in hospital with cellulitis, a common but non-threatening skin infection, had a treatment failure rate of seven per cent.

Children who were allowed home had a treatment failure rate of just two per cent.

They were also less likely to suffer things like diarrhea and vomiting, possibly due a fewer secondary infections picked up in hospital.

Unsurprisingly, children and their families also expressed significantly higher satisfaction and quality of life.

The results will be used to inform decisions about extending hospital-level care to patients at home.

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