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Med Care. 1994 May;32(5):459-70.

Utilization of formal and informal home care by AIDS patients in Boston: a comparison of intravenous drug users and homosexual males.

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Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


The assumption that intravenous (i.v.) drug users have weaker informal support networks than homosexual men has led to opposing policy recommendations: one emphasizes outreach and more formal (paid) home care for i.v. drug users, whereas the other maintains that formal home care programs are less effective for this risk group due to the lack of informal (unpaid) caregivers to coordinate efforts. Data from interviews with a sample of 231 persons with AIDS in the Boston area were used to compare the use of formal and informal home care between the two largest risk groups, homosexual men and i.v. drug users. Multivariate regression analysis was also employed to adjust estimates and to determine the significance of population characteristics in explaining utilization differences. IV drug users received about twice as much formal and informal home care as homosexual men. Controlling for functional status, income and assets, insurance and potential caregiver supply, i.v. drug users obtained significantly fewer formal home care services, but more informal care. Overall, i.v. drug users received a greater number of adjusted home care hours. These findings cast doubt upon the previous assumptions of the literature and suggest that members of both risk groups are appropriate candidates for formal home care services.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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