Background. There is a widely felt need to improve the match between long-term patients’ care needs and actual use of home care. As this match is not always adequate, it is important to know what factors influence it.
Aim. The aim of this paper is to provide insight into long-term patients’ need and actual use of home care, and the factors influencing these.
Method. A literature review was carried out, based on database searches in PubMed, CINAHL and the Nivel online library catalogue. A total of 114 papers were retrieved, but only 13 clearly dealt with use of professional home care (rather than informal home care or residential care) by people with long-term conditions.
Results. There is a dearth of publications on factors influencing the match between care need and actual use of professional home care among people with long-term conditions. Most of the 13 publications reviewed concerned determinants of professional home care use, rather than the match between patients’ felt needs and the home care delivered. From these studies, a profile of people with long-term conditions who used home care emerged. In general, older, non-white women, with multiple chronic diseases and impairments, and who had recently had inpatient care, tended to make more use of professional home care.
Conclusion. Future research in this field is recommended, particularly into system- and patient-related characteristics that may be responsible for the mismatch between care need and use.