Elderly patients with advanced stages of COPD or chronic heart failure (CHF) often require hospitalization due to exacerbations. We hypothesized that telemonitoring supported by hospital-based home care (HBHC) would detect exacerbations early, thus, reducing the number of hospitalization. We also speculated that patients with advanced COPD or CHF would present differences regarding exacerbation frequency and the need of HBHC.
The Health Diary system, based on digital pen technology, was employed. Patients aged ≥65 years with ≥2 hospitalizations the previous year were included. Exacerbations were categorized and treated as either COPD or CHF exacerbation by an experienced physician. All HBHC contacts (home visits or telephone consultations) were registered.
Ninety-four patients with advanced diseases were enrolled (36 COPD and 58 CHF subjects) of which 53 subjects (19 COPD and 34 CHF subjects) completed the 1-year study period. Death was the major reason for not finalizing the study. Compared to the 1-year prior inclusion, the intervention significantly reduced hospitalization. Although COPD subjects were younger with less comorbidity, exacerbations and HBHC contacts were significantly greater in this group.