Effects of formal home care on hospitalizations and doctor visits

Judite Gonçalves, France Weaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This study estimates the effects of formal home care, provided by paid professionals, on hospitalizations and doctor visits. We look at different lengths-of-stay (LOS) and types of doctor visits—general practitioners (GP) and specialists—and investigate heterogeneous effects by age groups and informal care availability. Two-part generalized linear models are estimated, using data from Switzerland. In this federal country, home care policy is decentralized into 26 cantons. Home care is measured at the canton level and its endogeneity is addressed by using an instrumental variable strategy combined with canton and time fixed-effects. We instrument home care use with the introduction of patient cost sharing for home care in some cantons in 2011. Overall, home care significantly increases the likelihoods of having a hospitalization, any doctor visit, or a GP visit. In addition, home care significantly reduces LOS up to 30 days, but has no effect on the number of doctor visits. These results are driven by the effects on persons 65 years and older. The effects are small, suggesting that the potential of formal home care to limit the growth in inpatient care and doctor visits may be limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-233
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Journal of Health Economics and Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • Doctor visits
  • Home care
  • Hospitalizations
  • Instrumental variable


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