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Effectiveness of a nurse-led case management home care model in Primary Health Care. A quasi-experimental, controlled, multi-centre study

JM Morales-Asencio1*, E Gonzalo-Jiménez1, FJ Martin-Santos23, JC Morilla-Herrera23, M Celdráan-Mañas3, A Millán Carrasco3, JJ García-Arrabal4 and I Toral-López5

Author Affiliations

1 Andalusian School of Public Health, Granada, Spain

2 Healthcare District, Andalusian Healthcare Service, Málaga, Spain

3 Andalusian School of Public Health, Granada, Spain

4 Healthcare District, Andalusian Healthcare Service, Almería, Spain

5 Healthcare District, Andalusian Healthcare Service, Granada, Spain

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BMC Health Services Research 2008, 8:193  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-8-193

Published: 23 September 2008



Demand for home care services has increased considerably, along with the growing complexity of cases and variability among resources and providers. Designing services that guarantee co-ordination and integration for providers and levels of care is of paramount importance. The aim of this study is to determine the effectiveness of a new case-management based, home care delivery model which has been implemented in Andalusia (Spain).


Quasi-experimental, controlled, non-randomised, multi-centre study on the population receiving home care services comparing the outcomes of the new model, which included nurse-led case management, versus the conventional one. Primary endpoints: functional status, satisfaction and use of healthcare resources. Secondary endpoints: recruitment and caregiver burden, mortality, institutionalisation, quality of life and family function. Analyses were performed at base-line, and at two, six and twelve months. A bivariate analysis was conducted with the Student's t-test, Mann-Whitney's U, and the chi squared test. Kaplan-Meier and log-rank tests were performed to compare survival and institutionalisation. A multivariate analysis was performed to pinpoint factors that impact on improvement of functional ability.


Base-line differences in functional capacity – significantly lower in the intervention group (RR: 1.52 95%CI: 1.05–2.21; p = 0.0016) – disappeared at six months (RR: 1.31 95%CI: 0.87–1.98; p = 0.178). At six months, caregiver burden showed a slight reduction in the intervention group, whereas it increased notably in the control group (base-line Zarit Test: 57.06 95%CI: 54.77–59.34 vs. 60.50 95%CI: 53.63–67.37; p = 0.264), (Zarit Test at six months: 53.79 95%CI: 49.67–57.92 vs. 66.26 95%CI: 60.66–71.86 p = 0.002). Patients in the intervention group received more physiotherapy (7.92 CI95%: 5.22–10.62 vs. 3.24 95%CI: 1.37–5.310; p = 0.0001) and, on average, required fewer home care visits (9.40 95%CI: 7.89–10.92 vs.11.30 95%CI: 9.10–14.54). No differences were found in terms of frequency of visits to A&E or hospital re-admissions. Furthermore, patients in the control group perceived higher levels of satisfaction (16.88; 95%CI: 16.32–17.43; range: 0–21, vs. 14.65 95%CI: 13.61–15.68; p = 0,001).


A home care service model that includes nurse-led case management streamlines access to healthcare services and resources, while impacting positively on patients' functional ability and caregiver burden, with increased levels of satisfaction.

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