Home Visiting Programs to Elderly People for Prevention: How Much Do We Know About Their Effectiveness?

2016-2017
Prepared for
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

Although there is growing evidence that home visiting program models targeting families with pregnant women and children help promote maternal and child health, child development, parenting, and family economic self-sufficiency, little is known about the effectiveness of analogous programs for older individuals to promote healthy aging and prevent problems to which elderly people are prone. 

This study involves a literature review of the evidence on home visiting programs for older adults and prevention interventions best suited to a home visiting approach. We are reviewing target populations; how participants are identified (for example, since there is no common event like the birth of a child, whether there are “sentinel events” to identify potential participants); program design, structure, and components; adverse outcomes prevented; program effectiveness; and strength of evidence of effectiveness. The goal is to develop a geriatric home visiting model that could seek to prevent a range of adverse events that senior citizens are at risk for, including physical and medical issues, physical or financial abuse, loneliness and social isolation, and adverse events in caregivers. 

A technical expert panel with a broad range of expertise in geriatric syndromes, in-home programs for the elderly, and maternal and child health home visiting programs is providing input on the study, leading to a final proposed model of home visiting for the elderly.