Home-care clients' need for help, and use and costs of services

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The aims of the study were to describe (1) the need for help as well as the use and costs of services of home help and/or home nursing (home care) and (2) to identify the variables associated with the use and costs of health and social care services. A total of 721 Finnish home-care clients were interviewed in 2001. The need for help was assessed by basic and instrumental activities of daily Living (ADL) and in terms of pain and illness, rest and sleep, psychosocial well-being and social and environment variables. The Anderson-Newman model was used to study predictors of use of services, including visits of home-care personnel and visits to the doctor, nurse, physiotherapist, laboratory and hospital. Weekly costs of services were calculated. Data were analyzed using multivariate analyses. The clients had poor functional ability and they needed help at least once a week with, on average, 6 out of 15 ADL functions, and 5 out of 13 items relating to pain and illnesses, rest and sleep, psychosocial well-being and social and environment items. The enabling and need variables, particularly the variables “living alone” and “perceived need for help”, were important predictors for the use of services. Social care constituted more than half of the average weekly costs of municipalities. The perceived need for help with basic ADL was associated with higher costs. To ensure the quality of life among home-care clients while keeping costs reasonable is a challenge for municipalities.

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