Abstract Changes in the health care delivery system resulting in increased need for home health services have led to greater involvement of public health nurses in defining practice and developing research in this area. Gaining an understanding of the experience of home health care from the perspective of frail older clients was the purpose of this investigation. An ethnographic study was conducted with nine older adults recently discharged from home health services. Analysis of data generated in home interviews revealed three major themes related to the experience of home health care: nursing care, health problems, and independence. Informants emphasized the reassurance and support given by nurses, yet did not readily identify teaching as part of the nurses' role. Several health problems were mentioned, emphasizing the experience of declining health and loss of independence. Although initially assistive, home health care was perceived to support dependency as the patients became more well and able to undertake self-care.