BACKGROUND: Care closer to home is being explored as a means of improving patient experience as well as efficiency in terms of cost savings. Evidence that community cancer services improve care quality and/or generate cost savings is currently limited. A randomised study was undertaken to compare delivery of cancer treatment in the hospital with two different community settings.
METHODS: Ninety-seven patients being offered outpatient-based cancer treatment were randomised to treatment delivered in a hospital day unit, at the patient's home or in local general practice (GP) surgeries. The primary outcome was patient-perceived benefits, using the emotional function domain of the EORTC quality of life (QOL) QLQC30 questionnaire evaluated after 12 weeks. Secondary outcomes included additional QOL measures, patient satisfaction, safety and health economics.
RESULTS: There was no statistically significant QOL difference between treatment in the combined community locations relative to hospital (difference of -7.2, 95% confidence interval: -19·5 to +5·2, P=0.25). There was a significant difference between the two community locations in favour of home (+15·2, 1·3 to 29·1, P=0.033). Hospital anxiety and depression scale scores were consistent with the primary outcome measure. There was no evidence that community treatment compromised patient safety and no significant difference between treatment arms in terms of overall costs or Quality Adjusted Life Year. Seventy-eight percent of patients expressed satisfaction with their treatment whatever their location, whereas 57% of patients preferred future treatment to continue at the hospital, 81% at GP surgeries and 90% at home. Although initial pre-trial interviews revealed concerns among health-care professionals and some patients regarding community treatment, opinions were largely more favourable in post-trial interviews.
INTERPRETATION: Patient QOL favours delivering cancer treatment in the home rather than GP surgeries. Nevertheless, both community settings were acceptable to and preferred by patients compared with hospital, were safe, with no detrimental impact on overall health-care costs.
- Ambulatory Care
- Great Britain
- Home Care Services
- Patient Satisfaction
- Quality of Life
- Surveys and Questionnaires
- Treatment Outcome