This study aims at a description of the current position of preventive home visits to the elderly by community nurses in The Netherlands Over a period of 8 weeks, a representative sample of 108 community nurses and 49 community nursing auxiliaries at 47 different locations paid a total number of 215 preventive home visits to elderly people Clients' characteristics, the nature of care delivered by the nurse, and the length of the home visit were recorded for each home visit The results suggested that community nurses and nursing auxiliaries spent very little time on preventive home visits During the home visits, both types of nurses tried to increase the self-care agency of the elderly by giving education or advice Furthermore, community nurses often paid more attention to the assessment and examination of existing or emerging self-care deficits of the elderly people visited than nursing auxiliaries In spite of the fact that the importance of preventive care for the elderly is recognized, resources are scarce It is therefore recommended that more research be earned out on the cost effectiveness of preventive home visits