The effectiveness and cost of home care: an information synthesis

Health Serv Res. 1986 Feb;20(6 Pt 2):851-80.


The effect of home care on patient outcomes and costs of care has been controversial. This information synthesis summarizes results from studies of home care using experimental or quasi-experimental designs, explicitly including judgments of methodologic soundness in weighing the results. In 12 studies of programs targeted at chronically ill populations, home care services appear to have no impact on mortality, patient functioning, or nursing home placements. Across studies, these services either have no effect on hospitalization or tend to increase the number of hospital days; ambulatory care utilization may be increased by 40 percent. The cost of care either is not affected or is actually increased by 15 percent. The critical need at present is for better-designed studies to test the effects of different types of home care, targeted at various types of patients, on the outcomes assessed in the existing studies, as well as on other important outcomes such as family finances, quality of life, and quality of care.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Home Care Services / economics
  • Home Care Services / standards*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Nursing Homes
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / methods*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Random Allocation
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs