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Infections and Infection Risks in Home Care Settings

  • Mary C. White (a1)



To describe the characteristics of home healthcare clients with respect to infection risks and the presence of infections.


Descriptive survey of client charts using a point prevalence design.


A private San Francisco, California, Bay area home care agency.


A random sample of 175 clients (28%) was taken from the active client list for a single day; demographic data and clinical data from the last visit prior to the selection day were collected from each chart.


The clients were predominantly elderly (mean= 68.6) with an average of 3.6 comorbid conditions; 12% had an invasive device. Over 20% had an infection on the day surveyed. Five percent had an infection that occurred during home care delivery


A substantial proportion of home health clients have infections, and they represent persons with a number of the risks associated with infections. Guidelines for defining and monitoring infections in home care need to be developed. Hospital-based surveillance methods are not altogether appropriate in this setting; redesigning methods such as targeted surveillance, monitoring rehospitalization, or immunization practices are discussed as potential ways to measure quality of care in the home setting.


Corresponding author

DMHCAN Box 0608, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0608


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