Objective: To compare demographic and functional characteristics of elderly users and non-users of home care services in urban Nova Scotia (n = 533) and Newfoundland (n = 449) using a cross sectional study design.
Results: More Nova Scotians (24%) than Newfoundlanders (11%) received home care services. In both provinces, most ADL-dependent people do not receive home care services, and most home care users are not ADL dependent. In Newfoundland, home care users were more likely to be ADL dependent and to have dementia; this was not the case in Nova Scotia. In Nova Scotia being over age 85 without a supporter in the same residence, not being married, and having an IADL limitation significantly increased the likelihood of home care use. IADL impaired subjects in Newfoundland were also more likely to receive home care.
Conclusions: If home care is to substitute for institutional care, existing home care programs must be prepared to adapt to a new type of user.