Abstract The delivery of home health services that are accessible and cost effective is contingent on understanding the characteristics and needs of the aggregates who use the services. This study examined the relationship between socio-demographic characteristics and nursing problems among a sample of home health patients. Data were gathered by retrospective record review of all 209 patients with medical-surgical problems who were discharged from home health services during a six-week period. Nursing diagnoses were identified by nurses at the time of the admission assessment. Impaired mobility, the most frequent nursing diagnosis, occurred in 73% of the sample, cardiovascular problems in 52%, and respiratory problems in 48%. Analysis of the data revealed a relationship between source of payment and age with nursing diagnosis. No significant relationship was found between nursing diagnosis and gender, although a weak relationship was identified with living arrangement. Results have important implications for the planning, delivery, and reimbursement of home care services that equitably address populations with the greatest nursing needs. If patients with specific predisposing characteristics have different needs, it may be possible to evaluate patients more accurately early in care delivery so that these needs can be more effectively met.