Research Article

Factors associated with home visiting in an inner London general practice.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985; 290 doi: (Published 18 May 1985) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;290:1480
  1. D Bucquet,
  2. B Jarman,
  3. P White


    We decided to examine the services provided by doctors in an inner London practice for domiciliary care. It was expected that the study would highlight the most relevant questions and variables related to access and uptake of this service; it would thus contribute to the design of an accurate procedure for auditing the pattern of delivery of home care to be conducted in the practice in the future. During the study period, 1976-81, there were 90 500 doctor-patient contacts. For patients up to the age of 10 years the proportion of home visits was 9.2%, falling to 2.2% in the age group 20 to 29; then there is a quasi plateau till the age of 60. After 60 the proportion of home visits doubles in each of the following 10 year age groups, reaching 54% in the over 80s. The proportion of home visits (standardised by age) rises from social class II (8.0%) to social class V (10.0%), but is higher in social class I (11.7%). The proportion of home visits according to distance from the practice rises from 8.2% near the health centre to 9.6% at a distance of 0.25 to 0.50 mile, and drops to 8.8% beyond 0.75 mile. The distance effect is not consistent when the social class dimension is added: social classes I and II have higher proportions of home visits in certain age and distance groups. Single people have the lowest proportion of home visits (6.8%); there are large differences between men and women among widowed (14.1% and 8.6% respectively) and divorced or separated (7.0% and 10.7% respectively) patients. There are important variations in the proportions of home visits made by the doctors in the practice, the trainees carrying out proportionally many more home visits. Data collected in the practice can be used to define specific issues for future audit exercises. Furthermore, sociodemographic characteristics of patients have been shown to be associated with use and access to medical services.