An Overview of In-Home Care for Older People in Portugal: An Empirical Study About the Customers

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Abstract

Background:

The Portuguese in-home care services have never been adequately studied or identified. This is because of the lack of classification of variables related to the care receiver and to the demographic and organizational context in which it is inserted.

Methods:

The 126 organizations in the central region of Portugal were categorized into four groups depending on whether they were located in a rural or urban environment and on whether they were large or small organizations. To obtain information, the In-Home Care Protocol (ProSAD), Elderly Assessment System (EASYcare), and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale were applied to 48 customers (6 randomly chosen customers of in-home care services of each of the 8 randomly selected organizations, 2 per group of variables).

Results:

The rural context denoted a lack of diversity of services and the number of organizations available is reduced, which implies less time spent with the customers. The more dependent customers at the time of registration (Kruskal-Wallis test [KW] =12.79; p<.05) in large organizations (Mann-Whitney [U] = 190.5; p<.05) benefit more from the services.

Conclusions:

In-home care services are underused and are oriented to treat those that have a family caregiver. Overall, in-home care in Portugal still has much to achieve when compared with other European countries.

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