Equity in Hospital-at-Home Care: Addressing Resource Disparities

Equity in Hospital-at-Home Care: Addressing Resource Disparities

One key aspect of hospital-at-home care that is often overlooked is the accessibility of nutritious meals and proper storage for medications. While patients in traditional hospital settings receive three complete meals a day, those receiving care at home may not have the same access to nutritious food. This is especially true for individuals living in food deserts, where the availability of healthy meals is limited. To address this disparity, healthcare systems should ensure that hospital-at-home patients have access to temperature-appropriate meals with proper storage options, such as heating and cooling bags or containers. Additionally, it is crucial to assess the functionality of home appliances to prevent food poisoning and ensure medications are stored at the correct temperatures.

Another area of concern when it comes to hospital-at-home care is energy equity. While patients receiving care at home are required to have adequate electricity for appliances and heating and cooling systems, under-resourced patients may struggle to cover the increased energy costs. To promote equity in energy access, healthcare systems should evaluate the energy consumption of devices and electronics for hospital-at-home care and provide subsidies as needed. Landlords of affordable housing units should also be encouraged to invest in government-sponsored energy-efficiency initiatives to reduce overall electricity costs for low-income patients.

Access to technology is another critical factor in ensuring equitable hospital-at-home care. Patients without internet access or digital literacy may be excluded from these services, leading to further disparities. Hospitals, particularly those serving rural or low-income communities, should provide patients with access to necessary technology resources, such as computers and monitoring devices. Government internet subsidies should be made available to patients without internet access to bridge the digital divide and ensure equal access to care.

Environment and Hygiene Poverty

The quality of the patient’s environment and hygiene practices at home can significantly impact their health outcomes. Patients living in unclean environments with mold, pests, or harmful pathogens may experience worsened health conditions. Unlike in hospitals, patients at home do not have the support of environmental services for proper waste disposal and cleaning of high-touch surfaces. It is essential to address these environmental disparities by ensuring that patients have access to cleaning supplies and resources to maintain a hygienic living environment. Government and insurance companies should cover the cost of cleaning services to mitigate health risks associated with poor living conditions.

Future Considerations for Hospital-at-Home Equity

As the hospital-at-home care model continues to evolve, it is crucial to prioritize equity and address resource disparities. Future research should focus on evaluating the cost-effectiveness and outcomes of hospital-at-home care compared to traditional hospital settings. Comparative effectiveness studies can help determine the impact of investing in equity issues that influence health outcomes, such as social determinants of health. By addressing resource gaps, promoting education, and conducting research, hospital-at-home care can be implemented in a fair and equitable manner to benefit patients and reduce healthcare disparities.

Equity in hospital-at-home care is essential to ensure that all patients have equal access to quality care and resources. By addressing issues related to nutrition, energy, technology, and environmental hygiene, healthcare systems can create a more inclusive and equitable care model. It is crucial to prioritize resource allocation, education, and research to promote equity in hospital-at-home care and improve health outcomes for all patients.


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