• The American Housing Survey (administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) collects detailed information regarding housing, but it does not include questions regarding the health status of residents and does not collect adequate information about home modifications and features on an ongoing basis.

Consequently, although multiple federal agencies collect data on the sociodemographic and health characteristics of populations and on the nation’s housing stock, none of these surveys collects data necessary to link the home, its residents, and the presence of any caregivers, thus limiting understanding of health care delivered in the home. Furthermore, information is altogether lacking about health and functioning of populations linked to the physical, social, and cultural environments in which they live. Finally, in regard to individuals providing care, information is lacking regarding their education, training, competencies, and credentialing, as well as appropriate knowledge about their working conditions in the home.

Better coordination across government agencies that sponsor such surveys and more attention to information about health care that occurs in the home could greatly improve the utility of survey findings for understanding the prevalence and nature of health care delivery in the home.

Recommendation 10. Federal health agencies should coordinate data collection efforts to capture comprehensive information on elements relevant to health care in the home, either in a single survey or through effective use of common elements across surveys. The surveys should collect data on the sociodemographic and health characteristics of individuals receiving care in the home, the sociodemographic attributes of formal and informal caregivers and the nature of the caregiving they provide, and the attributes of the residential settings in which the care recipients live.

Tools for Assessing Home Health Care Tasks and Operators

Persons caring for themselves or others at home as well as formal caregivers vary considerably in their skills, abilities, attitudes, experience, and other characteristics, such as age, culture/ethnicity, and health literacy. In turn, designers of health-related devices and technology systems used in the home are often naïve about the diversity of the user population. They need high-quality information and guidance to better understand user capabilities relative to the task demands of the health-related device or technology that they are developing.

In this environment, valid and reliable tools are needed to match users with tasks and technologies. At this time, health care providers lack the

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