News Briefs: Home health patients expect, accept less care

Elderly people receiving home care may lower their standards of acceptability for meal preparation, bathing, and housekeeping when faced with their available resources, according to a study conducted by a group of researchers from Washington University in St. Louis.

Researchers used telephone interviews and nurse clinical reports based on in-home interviews with more than 100 elderly people discharged to home care after a hospital stay.

The goal was to assess how the nurses and the elderly patients evaluated the sufficiency of care.

Professionals rated the amount of care, in both professional and informal care situations, as less sufficient than the elderly patients.

The nurses rate care as 2.73 on a four-point scale vs. patient ratings of 3.21. Patients rated care higher than the nurses in five areas: medications, bathing, shopping, money management, and housekeeping.

The amount of formal vs. informal care had no relationship to ratings for patients. Nurses, however, rated the sufficiency care as lower when there were higher amounts of formal care.

These findings suggest that higher amounts of formal care that are used to replace informal care cannot improve the quality of in-home supportive care.