The aging of the Canadian population is associated with a rising burden of heart failure (HF), a condition associated with significant morbidity, mortality and health service use.
We used data from the Ontario Resident Assessment Instrument-Home Care database for all long-stay home care clients aged 65 years or older to (1) describe the demographic and clinical characteristics of home care clients with HF and (2) examine service use among home care clients with HF to promote management at home with appropriate services.
Compared with other home care clients, HF clients exhibit more health instability, take more medications, experience more comorbid conditions and receive significantly more nursing, homemaking and meal services. They are hospitalized more frequently, have significantly more emergency department visits and use more emergent care.
HF clients are a more complex group than home care clients in general. Patient self-care must be tailored to the clinical characteristics, patterns of service use and barriers to self-care of the client. This is particularly true for older, frail and medically complex HF patients, many of whom require home care services. This work provides a background upon which to base initiatives to help these higher-needs clients manage their HF at home with appropriate support and services.