Frequency of Hospital Use Before and After Home-Delivery Meal by Meals On Wheels, of Tarrant County, Texas
Patients recently discharged from the hospital are vulnerable and are at high risk for readmission. Home-delivered meals may be beneficial in improving their health and facilitating independent living in the community. The purpose of this study was to identify the association between home-delivered meals and use of hospital services.
This study includes 120 clients recently discharged from an inpatient hospital stay or from an emergency department (ED) visit who received meal services from Meals On Wheels, Inc., of Tarrant County. Healthcare utilization data was extracted from the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Foundation, a regional all claims database used by over 90% of hospitals in Dallas-Fort Worth area. Signed tests and generalized linear models (GLM) were performed.
A total of 16,959 meals were delivered from March 2013 through March 2014. Each client received an average of 6.19 meals per week. The average number of ED visits decreased from 5.03 before receipt of meals to 1.45 after receipt of meals, z = -5.23, p <.001. The average number of hospitalizations decreased from 1.33 to.83, z = -7.29, p <.001. The average length of stay per hospitalization decreased from 5.47 days to 2.34 days, z = -5.84, p <.001. Clients who received more meals were less likely to experience ED visits and hospitalizations after controlling for demographic characteristics and levels of physical functioning.
The findings of this study indicate that home-delivered meals services may contribute to a reduction in hospital based care services among frail and vulnerable adults. Additional studies should consider the short and long-term effects of home-delivered meals services on healthcare utilization and the potential to decrease healthcare costs.
Key wordsHealthcare utilization home-delivered meals Meals on Wheels
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