We identified 1,573 patients referred to the service following an emergency admission to hospital, and a matched control group, and analysed data on hospital use and costs in the six months after referral to the Support at Home programme.
Our research did not detect lower use of hospitals for the British Red Cross group compared with a matched control group over the longer term. In fact, the evidence suggested that emergency admissions may have been slightly higher in the British Red Cross group – although there were indications that non-elective admissions were lower.
The results reinforce the challenges around reducing rates of emergency hospital admission. This is a common concern across health services, and one that has proved difficult to convincingly address. In the absence of well-accepted, evidence-based solutions to reducing emergency admissions, there is a need to subject promising new interventions and models of service provision of this type to thorough evaluation.
Georghiou T and Steventon A (2014) Effect of the British Red Cross ‘Support at Home’ service on hospital utilisation. Nuffield Trust.