Research Article

Facilitating care of patients with HIV infection by hospital and primary care teams.

BMJ 1990; 300 doi: (Published 27 January 1990) Cite this as: BMJ 1990;300:241
  1. A Smits,
  2. S Mansfield,
  3. S Singh
  1. St. Mary's Hospital, London.


    To complement the role of primary care teams working with patients with HIV disease and AIDS within greater London and to ease the load on the special hospital units a home support team was developed. It comprises six specialist nurses, a general practitioner trained medical officer, and a receptionist and is funded from regional and district sources and charities. A nurse is available for out of hours and emergency weekend calls, with support from the patient's general practitioner or the attached medical officer. During the first 18 months 249 patients were seen; the mean duration of care was five months. Nearly a third (18/50, 30%) of patients who were terminally ill died at home. The team's activities included practical nursing care, emotional support for carers and patients, and advice and guidance to primary care teams. Problems in providing care in patients' homes included issues relating to confidentiality and 24 hour cover. With the increasing incidence of HIV infection the home support team may be a useful model for care of large numbers of patients with symptomatic HIV disease, especially in large urban areas.