Thesis

Consumer perceptions as a guide to home health planning

This exploratory study was conducted to collect and analyze consumer subjective responses toward home health services, for the purpose of providing added perspective to agency performance evaluation, and to identify needs which might suggest modification in planning and delivery of agency services. An interdisciplinary literature review was carried out in the fields of Gerontology, Sociology, Psychology, Health Services, Consumer Science and Attitudinal Research. Using the literature as a background and working closely with home health agency staff members a survey questionnaire instrument was constructed. The instrument contained 19 items with Likert-type scale format being used where attitudinal responses were desired. Following pre-testing and revision the instrument was administered to 400 randomly selected home health care consumers who had received service from the agency during the previous eight months. One hundred and forty-three usable questionnaires were obtained for the study. Questionnaire response data was coded and mean frequencies, statistics and cross-tabulations were obtained using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. Data was tabulated and analyzed. A second instrument was constructed to collect ratings of consumer response data by the Management Advisory Committee. The committee independently rated those responses from the first questionnaire which pertained to quality of care (teaching, delivery of services and quality of the professional staff) and consumer needs (consumer awareness or Health Education needs and support services needs). Mean rating scores were tabulated and analyzed. The Advisory Committee indicated that they were most satisfied with consumer perceptions of quality of care, less satisfied with the unmet needs expressed by consumers, and least satisfied with the lack of consumer awareness of the potential of home health care services. Conclusions of the study were consistent with beliefs held by agency staff personnel prior to the study. Most of the consumers felt that they were receiving comprehensive and quality care. Many were unaware or misinformed about potential services available from a home health agency. A number of home health consumers, especially elderly persons living alone, felt the need for more supportive services than they were able to obtain. Recommendations related to the needs of the home health care consumer, and to the collection of consumer perceptions.

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