Previous surveys of home care patients in Taiwan have primarily concentrated on patients' status and needs. The aim of this study was to review the actual health care utilization of home care patients during the course of 1 year.
Home care patients at an academic medical center in Taiwan were selected and their insurance claims data at this hospital in 2001 were analyzed. Analyses included the patients' patterns and diagnoses of visits and admissions, and their drug utilization. For diagnoses made at outpatient departments, the grouping system from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey in the United States was used. The Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification system was applied to drug grouping.
The home care agency of the hospital cared for 165 patients (66 women, 99 men) in 2001. In total, these 165 patients received 1,358 home visits, 2,751 outpatient visits, and 108 inpatient admissions. While the most frequent diagnoses for all visits were cerebrovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, chronic and unspecified bronchitis, psychoses, and other disorders of the central nervous system, the most frequent diagnoses at discharge from the hospital were urinary tract infection and pneumonia. In all visits, 12,282 items of drugs were prescribed in 2,337 prescriptions. On average, each prescription contained 5.3 ± 2.8 items of drugs. The most frequently prescribed drugs were antacids, expectorants, laxatives, selective calcium channel blockers, and antithrombotic agents.
The home care agency of the hospital should pay more attention to provision of comprehensive care and review of drug prescribing.