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About the National Home and Hospice Care Survey

The 2007 National Home and Hospice Care Survey (NHHCS) is one in a continuing series of nationally representative sample surveys of U.S. home health and hospice agencies. It is designed to provide descriptive information on home health and hospice agencies, their staffs, their services, and their patients. NHHCS was first conducted in 1992 and was repeated in 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000, and most recently in 2007.

NHHCS, conducted between August 2007 and February 2008, was reintroduced into the field in 2007 after a seven-year break. During that time the survey was redesigned and expanded to include a computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) system, many new data items, and larger sample sizes of current home health patients and hospice discharges. All agencies that participated in the survey were either certified by Medicare and/or Medicaid or were licensed by a State to provide home health and/or hospice services and currently or recently served home health and/or hospice patients. Agencies that provided only homemaker services or housekeeping services, assistance with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), or durable medical equipment and supplies were excluded from the survey. The 2007 NHHCS included a supplemental survey of home health aides employed by home health and/or hospice agencies, called the National Home Health Aide Survey (NHHAS).

The 2007 NHHCS data were collected through in-person interviews with agency directors and their designated staffs; no interviews were conducted directly with patients or their families/friends. Agency data collected, available in agency administrative records, included information on the year an agency was established, the types of services an agency provided, referral sources, specialty programs, and staffing characteristics. Data collected on home health patients and hospice discharges, available in medical records, included age, sex, race and ethnicity, services received, length of time since admission, diagnoses, medications taken, advance directives, and many other items. The total number of agencies that participated in the 2007 NHHCS is 1,036, and data are available on 9,416 current home health patients and hospice discharges from these agencies. A detailed methods report on the 2007 NHHCS will be available in the near future on the NHHCS website.