Identifying client characteristics to predict homecare use more accurately: a Delphi-study involving nurses and homecare purchasing specialists

A.O.E. van den Bulck*, A.M.J. Elissen, S.F. Metzelthin, M.H. de Korte, G.S. Verhoeven, T.A.T. De Witte-Breure, L.C. van der Weij, M.C. Mikkers, D. Ruwaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Case-mix based prospective payment of homecare is being implemented in several countries to work towards more efficient and client-centred homecare. However, existing models can only explain a limited part of variance in homecare use, due to their reliance on health- and function-related client data. It is unclear which predictors could improve predictive power of existing case-mix models. The aim of this study was therefore to identify relevant predictors of homecare use by utilizing the expertise of district nurses and health insurers. Methods We conducted a two-round Delphi-study according to the RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method. In the first round, participants assessed the relevance of eleven client characteristics that are commonly included in existing case-mix models for predicting homecare use, using a 9-Point Likert scale. Furthermore, participants were also allowed to suggest missing characteristics that they considered relevant. These items were grouped and a selection of the most relevant items was made. In the second round, after an expert panel meeting, participants re-assessed relevance of pre-existing characteristics that were assessed uncertain and of eleven suggested client characteristics. In both rounds, median and inter-quartile ranges were calculated to determine relevance. Results Twenty-two participants (16 district nurses and 6 insurers) suggested 53 unique client characteristics (grouped from 142 characteristics initially). In the second round, relevance of the client characteristics was assessed by 12 nurses and 5 health insurers. Of a total of 22 characteristics, 10 client characteristics were assessed as being relevant and 12 as uncertain. None was found irrelevant for predicting homecare use. Most of the client characteristics from the category 'Daily functioning' were assessed as uncertain. Client characteristics in other categories - i.e. 'Physical health status', 'Mental health status and behaviour', 'Health literacy', 'Social environment and network', and 'Other' - were more frequently considered relevant. Conclusion According to district nurses and health insurers, homecare use could be predicted better by including other more holistic predictors in case-mix classification, such as on mental functioning and social network. The challenge remains, however, to operationalize the new characteristics and keep stakeholders on board when developing and implementing case-mix classification for homecare prospective payment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number394
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2022


  • Casemix
  • Client characteristics
  • Home care services
  • Classification
  • Prospective payment system
  • Policy
  • CARE


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