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Home Caring – Social Determinants of Home Care Utilization

Home caring is a great way to help people of all ages and with all types of needs. Home care can enable individuals to recover from illness or injury, maintain their independence as they age, or keep up with their everyday activities if they are living with a disease like Alzheimer’s or dementia. Home care is also a great option for those who have difficulty travelling or do not have enough family support to provide them with the assistance they need.

Home care can be provided by trained professionals, family members or friends. In some cases, home care services are covered by government or private insurance programs. In most cases, however, the cost of home care is borne by the person receiving the service or their family. This can be a significant financial burden, especially for low-income families.

Many seniors would tell you that they are more comfortable at home, surrounded by their memories and familiar things around them, than they are in a care facility. Having home care can allow them to stay in their own homes for as long as possible, with the extra assistance they need when it is needed. It can be as little as a few visits from someone to do chores and run errands, or it could be live-in home care for those with more complex medical needs.

Often, when families begin to look into home care options, they have many questions about what kinds of services are available and how much it will cost. They also may be unsure whether to work with a home care agency or hire an independent caregiver. Generally, working with an agency is more cost effective because the agency will have liability insurance built into the hourly rate and they will often have several caregivers to choose from, in case one does not work out.

The current literature indicates that there are a number of social factors that influence home care use. These include: personal and relationship factors, community and environmental factors, economic issues, and health-related factors. The authors of this scoping review have grouped the results from the literature into an integrated model as depicted in Fig. 2.

The authors suggest that this model provides a more complete picture of the social determinants of home care than previously understood. The implication of this model is that the factors that influence home care need can be addressed by focusing on both individual and societal interventions. This includes addressing societal issues that influence home care utilization, and developing health-related interventions that can promote a more sustainable form of Home caring. Similarly, individual-level interventions can be developed that can improve the quality of home care and promote greater satisfaction for both families and care providers. These may include promoting more efficient and effective care delivery and encouraging the participation of family members in care giving, as well as training caregivers in effective communication techniques and the provision of high-quality, compassionate care.

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