To ensure coordinated care in complex home care situations in Flanders a system of funded care plans was developed some fifteen years ago. In literature little evidence is found on the value of care plans in home care. The question arises whether funding and implementing these care plans have a significant effect on the quality of home care.
A multicentre case control study was performed. Care situations with a funded care plan were selected in five Flemish regions. In three control regions similar situations were chosen. All patients, informal caregivers and health care professionals involved in the selected situations received a questionnaire by post. Main outcome measures were SF12, Zarit Burden Scale, satisfaction and hospitalization. Data were calculated in proportions. Contingency tables were evaluated by chi square.
There was no significant effect on hospitalization or perceived general health of the patient, on the perceived burden of the informal caregiver or on the satisfaction with the delivered care of all involved. In care situations with a care plan, goals are more frequently formulated and achieved. A positive correlation was found between formulating goals and adequately evaluating and adjusting care. The health care professionals of the intervention group had a more positive attitude towards and participated significantly more in team meetings.
Care plans in home care lead to significant differences in process, but they have no effect on outcomes for patients and informal caregivers.
“Patient care planning”, “Outcome and Process Assessment”, “Health Care Quality, Access and Evaluation”, “Primary Health Care”