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Seniors recently discharged from the hospital should consider having skilled-level care at home instead of at a facility, researchers said after a new pilot study found that patients have better experiences with lower costs under the model.  

Their findings were published Thursday in the Journal of Applied Gerontology by a Brigham and Women’s Hospital-led investigative team. The group researched whether the cost of care and safety and experience of patients could be improved by shifting the site of care to the patient’s home. 

The study was conducted using a pilot trial where 10 participants were randomly assigned to rehabilitation at-home (RAH) or traditional SNF care. 

Findings showed that the median cost of care for patients receiving RAH was $8,404, compared to $9,215 for the SNF residents. At-home patients also saw an increase in their activities of daily living, such as personal hygiene and feeding themselves. 

The findings signal that a shift in post-acute care, away from SNFs and toward home-based services, could be the next step in care delivery but more research is needed. 

“We are making a lot of progress in delivering advanced care at home, and SNF-level care is an example of what could come in the future,” said corresponding author David Levine, M.D., with Brigham’s Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care. 

“My hope for the future is that this will become an option for rehabilitation for all patients who have been discharged once we conduct further studies and better understand the model’s limits,” he added.