Hazards from physical attributes of the home environment among patients on outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy

Published:November 22, 2018DOI:


      Outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) requires that patients and their caregivers administer antimicrobial medications in the home via venous catheters. Hazards from physical attributes of the home environment may impede safe performance of OPAT tasks.


      We performed a qualitative study, including semistructured telephone interviews and contextual inquiries, of patients performing OPAT tasks inside the home. Eligible participants were discharged from 2 academic medical centers in Baltimore, Maryland, on OPAT. We coded interview transcripts and contextual inquiry forms based on a model of healthcare work systems.


      Twenty-nine patients underwent semistructured telephone interviews, and 14 patients underwent contextual inquiry. We identified hazards including bathing, animal or pets, extremes in temperature, household clutter, indoor soil and food exposures, outdoor soil, and travel. Patients often developed strategies to mitigate these hazards.


      Multiple hazards related to the home environment could have led to harm, and in the absence of specific guidance, patients developed strategies to mitigate these hazards.


      Educational interventions to improve OPAT should incorporate an understanding of hazards that may occur in the home environment.

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