Home Care Worker Continuity in Home-Based Long-Term Care: Associated Factors and Relationships With Client Health and Well-Being

Jennifer M. Reckrey, David Russell, Mei Chia Fong, Julia G. Burgdorf, Emily C. Franzosa, Jasmine L. Travers, Katherine A. Ornstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background and Objectives: Despite the importance of provider continuity across healthcare settings, continuity among home care workers who provide hands-on long-term care is understudied. This project describes home care worker continuity, identifies factors associated with increased continuity, and examines associations between continuity and client outcomes. Research Design and Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of clients receiving Medicaid-funded home-based long-term care (n = 3,864) using insurance plan and home care agency data from a large nonprofit organization. We estimated home care worker continuity for clients between 6-month clinical assessments using Bice-Boxerman scores. We then used generalized estimating equations to model associations between home care worker continuity and (1) client characteristics (e.g., cognitive impairment), and (2) client functional, health, and psychosocial outcomes. Results: While home care worker continuity was lowest for clients receiving the most weekly care hours, a range of continuity existed across all levels of care need. Those who were male, older, Asian/Pacific Islander/Native American, cognitively impaired, and functionally impaired had lower continuity. Higher home care worker continuity was significantly associated (p <. 05) with fewer falls, a higher likelihood of functional improvement/stabilization, and fewer depressive symptoms. Discussion and Implications: The finding that home care worker continuity is associated with the health and well-being of home-based long-term care clients underscores the importance of building high-quality relationships in long-term care. Continued efforts are necessary to understand and advance home care worker continuity and to identify other aspects of the home care experience that benefit those receiving long-term care at home.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberigae024
JournalInnovation in Aging
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Caregiving
  • Home health aide
  • Home- and community-based services
  • Long-term care

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