Objective: To identify which social and health variables are associated with receiving social services in patients included in home care programmes with the implementation of the Dependence Law.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: 72 primary health care teams in Catalonia.
Patients: Patients over 64 years old with chronic diseases in home care programmes in Catalonia.
Measurements: Health status variables: Charlson, Barthel, Pfeiffer, Braden and Gijon, data from their carer (Zarit), self perception of health (SF-12), health professional visits, as well as: emergency visits, temporary admissions, and final results such as death or definitive admission in a nursing home or a hospital.
Results: A total of 1068 patients were included, 46.8% of the patients received some kind of social service, public or private. We observed that the variables related to receive some kind of social services are: high dependence (Barthel test), pressure sores and home care rehabilitation. Barthel test is highly associated with having social problems (Gijon test), living without an informal carer, more than 2 GP visits and having additional private health care.
Conclusions: To be more fair, the evaluation of the provisions of the Dependence Law should also consider the health status of the patient. With the implementation of this law we can observe difficulties in access to social services for middle class patients. These patients do not have access to public social assistance and cannot pay for a private one. Social services are still an alternative to family care.