• An economic analysis was conducted as an integral part of a comparison of the effectiveness and suitability of Hospital at Home (HaH) and in-patient interventions. The sample comprised of 109 adult primary total joint replacement patients and 21 of their coresident informal carers.
• The paper is presented in two parts. Part 1 includes the background and rationale for the study and the findings from the comparison of the effectiveness of the two interventions using multiple data collection sources.
• Data were collected using questionnaires, audit and semi-structured interviews.
• Hospital at Home was found to be significantly more effective in terms of patient satisfaction and reduced joint stiffness and as least as effective as in-patient care in relation to levels of joint pain, joint disability and incidence of postoperative complications. In addition informal carers reported 107 positive comments compared with 36 negative comments related to HaH care and all except one of the 21 carers would choose HaH again in preference to in-patient care.