Publication Date


Degree Program

School of Nursing

Degree Type

Master of Science in Nursing


The home health industry's introduction to managed care raises the prospect of reduced access to health care and poor outcomes for a vulnerable segment of our population—the rural elderly. Before effective intervention strategies can be accurately evaluated, a clearer picture of the sociodemographic features and home care service consumption is needed for this understudied group. The study was intended to provide a basis for future research into the evaluation of alternative methods of delivering effective care in terms of outcome and decreased cost for this population. A retrospective descriptive analysis was made of the patient record for the first six months of care from a proprietary home health agency. Eighty-one charts were examined and features such as age, race, gender, socioeconomic level, functional limitations, family support and literacy were analyzed to provide a profile of the patient population. Resource consumption was measured in terms of the type and frequency of disciplines intervening in each case. Comparison was made between the characteristics of the sample and the resource use. The study provided a composite view of the typical patient: Caucasian, literate, low income female, between 70-80 years of age, without family support. No clear linkage between specific characteristics and resource consumption was found; there was a broad range in the numbers of visits made to patients.


Geriatric Nursing | Nursing