Background: There is increasing evidence that patients with low-risk community acquired pneumonia (CAP) can be effectively treated as outpatients. This study aimed to explore patients' experiences of having pneumonia and seeking health care; their perceptions of the information provided by health professionals; how they self managed at home; their information and support needs; and their beliefs and preferences regarding site of care. Methods: We conducted qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 15 patients who had a confirmed diagnosis of low-risk CAP and had received fewer than 3 days hospital care. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed, and data were analysed thematically. Results: Most patients left hospital with no clear understanding of pneumonia, its treatment or follow-up and most identified additional-other specific information needs when they got home. Some were unable to independently address their activities of daily living in their first days at home. Main concerns after discharge related to the cause and implications of pneumonia, symptom trajectory and prevention of transmission. Most sought advice from their GP in their first days at home, and indicated they would have appreciated a follow-up phone call or visit to discuss their concerns. Patients' preferences for site of care varied and appeared to be influenced by beliefs about safety (fear of rapid deterioration at home or acquiring an infection in hospital), family burden, access to support, or confidence in home-care services. Those who received intravenous (IV) medication were more likely to state a preference for hospital care. Conclusion: Trends to support community-based treatment of CAP should be accompanied by increased attention to the information and support needs of patients who go home to self-manage. Although some information needs can be anticipated and addressed on diagnosis, specific needs often do not become apparent until patients return home, so some access to information and support in the community is likely to be necessary. Our finding that patients who received IV treatment for low-risk CAP were concerned about the relative safety of home-based care highlights the potential importance of the inferences patients make from treatment modalities, and also the need to ensure that patients' expectations and understandings are managed effectively.
- Health care
- Community care