Open Access Open Badges Research article

Evaluation of health care providers’ role transition and satisfaction in hospital-at-home for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations: a survey study

Cecile MA Utens12*, Lucas MA Goossens3, Onno CP van Schayck2, Maureen PHM Rutten-vanMölken3, Maria W Braken4, Loes MGA van Eijsden5 and Frank WJM Smeenk1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Catharina Hospital, Eindhoven, the Netherlands

2 Department of General Practice, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands

3 Institute for Medical Technology Assessment, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

4 Department of Staff nurses Nursing and Care, ZuidZorg, Veldhoven, the Netherland

5 Department of Health Care Policy, Meander Group Zuid-Limburg, Heerlen, the Netherlands

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BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:363  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-363

Published: 27 September 2013



Hospital-at-home is an accepted alternative for usual hospital treatment for patients with a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) exacerbation. The introduction of hospital-at-home may lead to changes in health care providers’ roles and responsibilities. To date, the impact on providers’ roles is unknown and in addition, little is known about the satisfaction and acceptance of care providers involved in hospital-at-home.


Objective of this survey study was to investigate the role differentiation, role transitions and satisfaction of professional care providers (i.e. pulmonologists, residents, hospital respiratory nurses, generic and specialised community nurses and general practitioners) from 3 hospitals and 2 home care organisations, involved in a community-based hospital-at-home scheme. A combined multiple-choice and open-end questionnaire was administered in study participants.


Response rate was 10/17 in pulmonologists, 10/23 in residents, 9/12 in hospital respiratory nurses, 15/60 in generic community nurses, 6/10 in specialised community nurses and 25/47 in general practitioners. For between 66% and 100% of respondents the role in early discharge was clear and between 57% and 78% of respondents was satisfied with their role in early discharge. For nurses the role in early discharge was different compared to their role in usual care. 67% of generic community nurses felt they had sufficient knowledge and skills to monitor patients at home, compared to 100% of specialised community nurses. Specialised community nurses felt they should monitor patients. 60% of generic community nurses responded they should monitor patients at home. 78% of pulmonologists, 12% of general practitioners, 55% of hospital respiratory nurses and 48 of community nurses was satisfied with early discharge in general. For coordination of care 29% of community nurses had an unsatisfied response. For continuity of care this was 12% and 10% for hospital respiratory nurses and community nurses, respectively.


A community-based early assisted discharge for COPD exacerbations is possible and well accepted from the perspective of health care providers’ involved. Satisfaction with the different aspects is good and the transfer of patients in the community while supervised by generic community nurses is possible. Attention should be paid to coordination and continuity of care, especially information transfer between providers.

Hospital-based home care services; Health personnel; Community health nursing; Health care surveys; Professional roles; Job satisfaction