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Keywords:

  • health visiting;
  • elder care;
  • gerontology;
  • systematic reviews;
  • preventive home visit;
  • integrative research;
  • older;
  • gerontological nursing;
  • health resources

This study has two aims: (i) to explore and evaluate the health-promoting effect of preventive home visit (PHV) by analysing the activities conducted during the PHV and the reported results, and (ii) to critically analyse if PHV is characterized by an individualized health resource perspective. The material was compiled through a systematic literature search in the databases Ebsco, CINAHL, Medline, Science Direct and CSA from the period 1984 to 2004. The result of the systematic database search was a total number of 49 scientific research articles, of which 18 are included in this study. The analysing method was a four-step integrating research review. The review describes the following content concerning (i) activities during home visits: screening, observation and evaluation, guidance, support, referral to care and other services, follow-up and individual aim; (ii) positive effects: reduced mortality, improved ability to function, improved life quality, improved subjective health, fewer admittances for care, older people’s experiences of home visits and increased knowledge on health and (iii) unclear/negative effects: admittance to care, no effect on mortality, unaffected ability to function, unaffected general health and uninfluenced life quality. PHVs had been implemented based on an individual perspective in a total of 13 studies out of 18. The focus on sickness was surprisingly clear, and in 10 studies out of 18 a health resource perspective was lacking. The effects of PHVs have been questioned. Despite this, current research results imply that this method has a positive affect on older people’s health and well-being. This form of care must still be developed to include extensive screenings and interventions, as well as a health resource perspective where the starting point during every home visit is the older person’s individual needs and wishes.