Coordination of care for individuals with advanced progressive conditions: a multi-site ethnographic and serial interview study

Bruce Mason, Eleni Epiphaniou, Veronica Nanton, Anne Donaldson, Cathy Shipman, Barbara A Daveson, Richard Harding, Irene Higginson, Dan Munday, Stephen Barclay, Kirsty Boyd, Jeremy Dale, Marilyn Kendall, Allison Worth, Scott A Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Coordination of care for individuals with advanced progressive conditions is frequently poor.
Aim

To identify how care is coordinated in generalist settings for individuals with advanced progressive conditions in the last year of life.

Design and setting

A mixed methods study of three UK generalist clinical settings producing three parallel case studies: an acute admissions unit in a regional hospital, a large general practice, and a respiratory outpatient service.

Method

Ethnographic observations in each setting, followed by serial interviews of patients with advanced progressive conditions and their family carers in the community. A spectrum of clinicians and healthcare workers were also interviewed.

Results

Ethnographic observations were conducted for 22 weeks. A total of 56 patients, 25 family carers and 17 clinicians yielded 198 interviews. Very few participants had been identified for a palliative approach. Rapid throughput of hospital patients and time pressures in primary care hindered identification of palliative care needs. Lack of care coordination was evident during emergency admissions and discharges. Patient, families, and professionals identified multiple problems relating to lack of information, communication, and collaboration at care transitions. Family carers or specialist nurses, where present, usually acted as the main care coordinators.

Conclusion

Care is poorly coordinated in generalist settings for patients in the last year of life, although those with cancer have better coordinated care than other patients. A model to improve coordination of care for all individuals approaching the end of life must ensure that patients are identified in a timely way, so that they can be assessed and their care planned accordingly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e580-8
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Volume63
Issue number613
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

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