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Social factors influencing utilization of home care in community-dwelling older adults: a scoping review

Mah, Jasmine C., Stevens, Susan J., Keefe, Janice M., Rockwood, Kenneth and Andrew, Melissa K. (2021) Social factors influencing utilization of home care in community-dwelling older adults: a scoping review. BMC Geriatrics, 21 (1). ISSN 1471-2318

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Identification Number: 10.1186/s12877-021-02069-1


Background: Older adults want to live at home as long as possible, even in the face of circumstances that limit their autonomy. Home care services reflect this emergent preference, allowing older adults to ‘age in place’ in familiar settings rather than receiving care for chronic health conditions or ageing needs in an institutionalized setting. Numerous social factors, generally studied in isolation, have been associated with home care utilization. Even so, social circumstances are complex and how these factors collectively influence home care use patterns remains unclear. Objectives: To provide a broad and comprehensive overview of the social factors influencing home care utilization; and to evaluate the influence of discrete social factors on patterns of home care utilization in community-dwelling older adults in high-income countries. Methods: A scoping review was conducted of six electronic databases for records published between 2010 and 2020; additional records were obtained from hand searching review articles, reference lists of included studies and documents from international organisations. A narrative synthesis was presented, complemented by vote counting per social factor, harvest plots and an evaluation of aggregated findings to determine consistency across studies. Results: A total of 2,365 records were identified, of which 66 met inclusion criteria. There were 35 discrete social factors grouped into four levels of influence using a socio-ecological model (individual, relationship, community and societal levels) and grouped according to outcome of interest (home care propensity and intensity). Across all studies, social factors consistently showing any association (positive, negative, or equivocal in pattern) with home care propensity were: age, ethnicity/race, self-assessed health, insurance, housing ownership, housing problems, marital status, household income, children, informal caregiving, social networks and urban/rural area. Age, education, personal finances, living arrangements and housing ownership were associated with home care intensity, also with variable patterns in utilization. Additional community and societal level factors were identified as relevant but lacking consistency across the literature; these included rurality, availability of community services, methods of financing home care systems, and cultural determinants. Conclusion: This is the first literature review bringing together a wide range of reported social factors that influence home care utilization. It confirms social factors do influence home care utilization in complex interactions, distinguishes level of influences at which these factors affect patterns of use and discusses policy implications for home care reform.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Health Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2021 06:06
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:58

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