Effects of a nurse-led, clinic and home-based intervention on recurrent hospital use in chronic heart failure




Few studies have examined the potential benefits of specialist nurse-led programs of care involving home and clinic-based follow-up to optimise the post-discharge management of chronic heart failure (CHF).


To determine the effectiveness of a hybrid program of clinic plus home-based intervention (C+HBI) in reducing recurrent hospitalisation in CHF patients.


CHF patients with evidence of left ventricular systolic dysfunction admitted to two hospitals in Northern England were assigned to a C+HBI lasting 6 months post-discharge (n=58) or to usual, post-discharge care (UC: n=48) via a cluster randomization protocol. The co-primary endpoints were death or unplanned readmission (event-free survival) and rate of recurrent, all-cause readmission within 6 months of hospital discharge.


During study follow-up, more UC patients had an unplanned readmission for any cause (44% vs. 22%: P=0.019, OR 1.95 95% CI 1.10–3.48) whilst 7 (15%) versus 5 (9%) UC and C+HBI patients, respectively, died (P=NS). Overall, 15 (26%) C+HBI versus 21 (44%) UC patients experienced a primary endpoint. C+HBI was associated with a non-significant, 45% reduction in the risk of death or readmission when adjusting for potential confounders (RR 0.55, 95% CI 0.28–1.08: P=0.08). Overall, C+HBI patients accumulated significantly fewer unplanned readmissions (15 vs. 45: P<0.01) and days of recurrent hospital stay (108 vs. 459 days: P<0.01). C+HBI was also associated with greater uptake of beta-blocker therapy (56% vs. 18%: P<0.001) and adherence to Na restrictions (P<0.05) during 6-month follow-up.


This is the first randomised study to specifically examine the impact of a hybrid, C+HBI program of care on hospital utilisation in patients with CHF. Its beneficial effects on recurrent readmission and event-free survival are consistent with those applying either a home or clinic-based approach.