Community-Based Home Health Programs and Chronic Disease: Synthesis of the Literature

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Abstract

Purpose of Study:

This article reviewed and evaluated literature on the various community-based home health programs and their effectiveness at preventing hospital admissions in adults. The research question addressed is as follows: Do community-based home health programs decrease hospital admissions in adult patients with chronic disease?

Primary Practice Setting:

The primary practice setting evaluated in this review of the literature was community-based home health programs.

Methodology and Sample:

In this literature review, a seven-step review method was utilized to assess the evidence. Three electronic databases were used to conduct the initial search inquiry: CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) Plus with Full Text, Medline, and PsycINFO. The search parameters include research from 2006 through 2016, English-language studies, and research published in peer-reviewed journals. The following search terms were used in multiple combinations: community-based health programs, chronic disease, and home. The primary sample population assessed was older adults with chronic disease.

Results:

The research identified three common themes that influenced quality-of-life outcomes and health care utilization in participants of a community-based home health program. These themes were encouragement and emotional support, home visits, and multidisciplinary coordination of care. Additional concepts of depression and educational reinforcement were also noted.

Implications for Case Management Practice:

This literature review indicates that community-based home health programs are a viable solution to providing cost-effective health care to the adult population with chronic diseases. Community-based home health programs have been shown to have a positive impact on the quality of life and a decrease in health care utilization, including emergency department and primary care practitioner visits and hospital admissions, for adults with chronic disease.

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