Improving care coordination for community-dwelling older Australians: a longitudinal qualitative study
Authors: Desley Harvey, Michele Foster, Edward Strivens, & Rachel Quigley
Objective: The aim of the present study was to describe the care transition experiences of older people who transfer between subacute and primary care, and to identify factors that influence these experiences. A further aim of the study was to identify ways to enhance the Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) model of care and improve local coordination of services for older people. Methods: The present study was an exploratory, longitudinal case study involving repeat interviews with 19 patients and carers, patient chart audits and three focus groups with service providers. Interview transcripts were coded and synthesised to identify recurring themes.
Results: Patients and carers experienced care transitions as dislocating and unpredictable within a complex and turbulent service context. The experience was characterised by precarious self-management in the community, floundering with unmet needs and holistic care within the GEM service. Patient and carer attitudes to seeking help, quality and timeliness of communication and information exchange, and system pressure affected care transition experiences.
Conclusion: Further policy and practice attention, including embedding early intervention and prevention, strengthening links between levels of care by building on existing programs and educative and self-help initiatives for patients and carers is recommended to improve care transition experiences and optimise the impact of the GEM model of care.