Systematic review of outcomes from home-based primary care programs for homebound older adults

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014 Dec;62(12):2243-51. doi: 10.1111/jgs.13088. Epub 2014 Nov 4.


Objectives: To describe the effect of home-based primary care for homebound older adults on individual, caregiver, and systems outcomes.

Design: A systematic review of home-based primary care interventions for community-dwelling older adults (aged ≥65) using the Cochrane, PubMed, and MEDLINE databases from the earliest available date through March 15, 2014. Studies were included if the house calls visitor was the ongoing primary care provider and if the intervention measured emergency department visits, hospitalizations, hospital beds days of care, long-term care admissions, or long-term care bed days of care.

Setting: Home-based primary care programs.

Participants: Homebound community-dwelling older adults (N = 46,154).

Measurements: Emergency department visits, hospitalizations, hospital bed days of care, long-term care admissions, long-term care bed days of care, costs, program design, and individual and caregiver quality of life and satisfaction with care.

Results: Of 357 abstracts identified, nine met criteria for review. The nine interventions were all based in North America, with five emerging from the Veterans Affairs system. Eight of nine programs demonstrated substantial effects on at least one inclusion outcome, with seven programs affecting two outcomes. Six interventions shared three core program components: interprofessional care teams, regular interprofessional care meetings, and after-hours support.

Conclusion: Specifically designed home-based primary care programs may substantially affect individual, caregiver and systems outcomes. Adherence to the core program components identified in this review could guide the development and spread of these programs.

Keywords: home-based primary care; homebound older adults; house calls.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Home Care Services*
  • Homebound Persons*
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Quality of Life