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1.  Early assisted discharge with generic community nursing for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations: results of a randomised controlled trial 
BMJ Open  2012;2(5):e001684.
Objectives
To determine the effectiveness of early assisted discharge for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations, with home care provided by generic community nurses, compared with usual hospital care.
Design
Prospective, randomised controlled and multicentre trial with 3-month follow-up.
Setting
Five hospitals and three home care organisations in the Netherlands.
Participants
Patients admitted to the hospital with an exacerbation of COPD. Patients with no or limited improvement of respiratory symptoms and patients with severe unstable comorbidities, social problems or those unable to visit the toilet independently were excluded.
Intervention
Early discharge from hospital after 3 days inpatient treatment. Home visits by generic community nurses. Primary outcome measure was change in health status measured by the Clinical COPD Questionnaire (CCQ). Treatment failures, readmissions, mortality and change in generic health-related quality of life (HRQL) were secondary outcome measures.
Results
139 patients were randomised. No difference between groups was found in change in CCQ score at day 7 (difference in mean change 0.29 (95% CI −0.03 to 0.61)) or at 3 months (difference in mean change 0.04 (95% CI –0.40 to 0.49)). No difference was found in secondary outcomes. At day 7 there was a significant difference in change in generic HRQL, favouring usual hospital care.
Conclusions
While patients’ disease-specific health status after 7-day treatment tended to be somewhat better in the usual hospital care group, the difference was small and not clinically relevant or statistically significant. After 3 months, the difference had disappeared. A significant difference in generic HRQL at the end of the treatment had disappeared after 3 months and there was no difference in treatment failures, readmissions or mortality. Early assisted discharge with community nursing is feasible and an alternative to usual hospital care for selected patients with an acute COPD exacerbation.
Trial registration: NetherlandsTrialRegister NTR 1129.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001684
PMCID: PMC3488726  PMID: 23075570
Primary Care
2.  Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of early assisted discharge for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease exacerbations: the design of a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:618.
Background
Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are the main cause for hospitalisation. These hospitalisations result in a high pressure on hospital beds and high health care costs. Because of the increasing prevalence of COPD this will only become worse. Hospital at home is one of the alternatives that has been proved to be a safe alternative for hospitalisation in COPD. Most schemes are early assisted discharge schemes with specialised respiratory nurses providing care at home. Whether this type of service is cost-effective depends on the setting in which it is delivered and the way in which it is organised.
Methods/Design
GO AHEAD (Assessment Of Going Home under Early Assisted Discharge) is a 3-months, randomised controlled, multi-centre clinical trial. Patients admitted to hospital for a COPD exacerbation are either discharged on the fourth day of admission and further treated at home, or receive usual inpatient hospital care. Home treatment is supervised by general nurses. Primary outcome is the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of an early assisted discharge intervention in comparison with usual inpatient hospital care for patients hospitalised with a COPD exacerbation. Secondary outcomes include effects on quality of life, primary informal caregiver burden and patient and primary caregiver satisfaction. Additionally, a discrete choice experiment is performed to provide insight in patient and informal caregiver preferences for different treatment characteristics. Measurements are performed on the first day of admission and 3 days, 7 days, 1 month and 3 months thereafter. Ethical approval has been obtained and the study has been registered.
Discussion
This article describes the study protocol of the GO AHEAD study. Early assisted discharge could be an effective and cost-effective method to reduce length of hospital stay in the Netherlands which is beneficial for patients and society. If effectiveness and cost-effectiveness can be proven, implementation in the Dutch health care system should be considered.
Trial registration
Netherlands Trial Register NTR1129.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-618
PMCID: PMC2965725  PMID: 20955582

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