Effects of a Home Visiting Program for Older People with Poor Health Status: A Randomized, Clinical Trial in the Netherlands

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES

To evaluate the effectiveness of a home visiting program on health-related measures in a population of older people with poor health status.

DESIGN

Randomized, clinical trial.

SETTING

Community-dwelling citizens in the Netherlands.

PARTICIPANTS

Three hundred thirty people aged 70 to 84 randomly assigned to an intervention group (n=160) or a control group (n=170).

INTERVENTION

Eight home visits, lasting 1 hour or more, with telephone follow-up, over an 18-month period, conducted by experienced home nurses under supervision of a public health nurse; key elements of the (systematic) visits were assessment of health problems and risks, advice, and referral to professional and community services.

MEASUREMENTS

Self-rated health, functional status, quality of life, and changes in self-reported problems.

RESULTS

No differences were found between the intervention and control group in these and other outcome measures at the end of the intervention period (18 months).

CONCLUSION

The home visiting program did not appear to have any effect on the health status of older people with poor health and are probably not beneficial for such persons.

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