Swiss Home Care Data: Better data on the quality of home care service (Spitex)
Little is known in Switzerland about the availability, demand for, and quality of home care services. This study, which is scheduled to start in mid-2017, aims to fill the gap. The study will analyse as well as further develop the database HomeCareData (HCD) operated by the Swiss Home Care Association (Spitex).
The number of elderly people requiring long-term care is growing all the time. At the same time, long-term care is increasingly being provided in the home setting rather than in nursing homes or hospitals – applying the principle of “out-patient before in-patient”. Although the importance of home care is growing, little is known about the utilization of home care services as well as the quality of the care provided. The database of the Swiss Home Care Association (Spitex) provides a major data source for developing this knowledge.
The aim of the study is to use the data held by the Spitex association to investigate nursing home-care services usage and quality. In addition, proposals for the future use of the data pool, including refinement, will be developed.
Once the quality of the data has been reviewed, the first phase of the project will involve the testing of a linkage between the data held by the Spitex association and other health statistics in order to develop patient profiles featuring clinical and sociodemographic characteristics and the use of nursing services. The second phase of the project will focus on refining the Spitex database. In particular, the satisfaction of patients and their relatives with home care will be measured and the existing nursing quality indicators will be updated. In the final phase, stakeholders will be consulted and recommendations for the database´s future use will be developed.
The project revealed the potential of the information collected at the individual level in the HCD data pool for in-depth investigations, e.g. on the profile of the clients or on the need for care. At present, however, the data do not yet meet the requirements for generalizable analyses, mainly due to a lack of representativeness.
Based on these insights and the results of interviews with stakeholders, it is recommended to focus the future development of the HCD data pool on improving data quality and representativeness. Therefore, existing structures can be strengthened to support home care organizations, including the creation of new, sustainable suport structures. In this way, the data pool will be further improved and well reputed. This could motivate new organizations to contribute their owndata.
A further opportunity to strengthen the data pool arises from its use for quality measurement. In the project, possible quality indicators were examined for application in the Swiss context. Seven of 43 potential indicators were assessed as appropriate by healthcare experts and Spitex-nursing professionals.
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