Taking hospital treatments home: a mixed methods case study looking at the barriers and success factors for home dialysis treatment and the influence of a target on uptake rates

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Abstract Background: Despite healthcare policies and evidence which promote home dialysis, uptake rates have been falling for over 10 years in England. A target introduced by commissioners in the West Midlands provided a unique opportunity to study how hospitals can increase home-based treatment for a group of patients with complex life-threatening conditions. Methods: Quantitative changes in home treatment uptake rates in seven hospitals in the West Midlands were compared with the rest of England for 3 years pre and post the introduction of the target in 2010, using a logistic regression model. Qualitative interviews in four hospitals with 96 clinical and managerial staff and 93 dialysis patients explored the barriers and facilitators to increasing the uptake of home treatment and the impact of the target. Results: Home treatment uptake rates increased significantly in the seven study hospitals compared with the 3 years prior to the introduction of the target and compared with the rest of England where rates remained static. The four main factors facilitating increased uptake were as follows: the commissioner’s target, linked to financial penalties; additional funding for specialist staff and equipment; committed, visible clinical champions and good systems for patient training and ongoing healthcare support at home. The three main barriers were as follows: lack of training for non-specialist staff, poorly developed patient education and considerable unrecognised and unmet emotional and psychological patient needs. Conclusions: This study shows the impact of using targets with financial penalties to achieve change and how hospitals can increase significantly the uptake of home-based self-care for a group of patients with complex medical needs. It provides useful pointers to the main barriers and facilitators, which are likely to be relevant to other groups of patients who could be treated at home. It also highlights two neglected areas which need to improve if patients with life-threatening long-term conditions are to be encouraged to take up home treatment: individualised patient education which allows exploration of the impacts of treatment options and the provision of ongoing emotional support.


Original languageEnglish
Article number148
JournalImplementation Science
Issue number148
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2015


  • Targets, Dialysis, Home treatment, Self-care, Barriers, Facilitators, Patient education, Emotional support