This seven-month project looked at a team-based, flex-time approach (called cluster care) to seniors’ home support services as an alternative to conventional one-to-one case assignments and fixed-period visits. At question was whether shorter, more frequent visits would result in better care, more efficient services, and increased client independence. After investigating related experiments in Waterloo and Kamloops, researchers selected two pilot sites and managed two teams of home support workers. Detailed comparisons of the traditional and cluster care models showed that the latter was suitable for most clients and most appropriate for those who live in high-density residential buildings and receive considerable home support hours. Care levels increased overall, particularly at the more complex levels; however, this may be a result of the fact that the same group of clients, the majority over age 80, was compared for 1998 and 1999 and that their health needs may have increased over that time. Better care and the team approach meant more hours and higher costs. Surveys revealed a high level of client, caregiver, and care provider satisfaction with the program.
This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.