The cost of home-based terminal care for people with AIDS in South Africa

  • Leana Uys
  • Martin Hensher


Objectives. To describe the costs of establishing and operating a home-based care (HBC) project  providing palliative care for people with AIDS CPWA), and to project the full costs to the health care system of extending this care model.
Design. Data were collected from seven sites participating in the Hospice Association of South Africa  integrated community home-based care (ICHC) model, using site records, interviews with personnel, a continuity of care survey of nursing staff supervising the sites, and time logs kept by community caregivers (CCGs). The seven sites were spread across five provinces, with a mix of rural, peri-urban and urban settings.
Outcome measures. Set-up (training, equipping and planning) costs per HBC site, HBC operating costs (total and average cost per patient), and average hospital inpatient, hospital outpatient and primary care  clinic cost per participating patient. Estimates of scaling up this model of HBC to national roll-out are also provided.
Results and conclusions. Providing palliative HBC to PWAs in their last year of life using the ICHC  model costs R2 840 per patient per year. Even with this level of HBC input, patients still incurred hospital costs of R2 522 and primary care clinic costs of R1 154 per patient per year. HBC costs are increased in rural areas where a vehicle is required for staff transport. HBC shows considerable potential to deal cost-effectively with growing palliative care needs in the face of the AIDS epidemic, but we need to  understand better the true extent to which HBC can substitute for hospitalisation.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135