Achieving Integrated Care for Older People: What Kind of Ship? Comment on “Achieving Integrated Care for Older People: Shuffling the Deckchairs or Making the System Watertight for the Future?”
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This paper considers an implication of the idea that proposals for integrated care for older people should start from a focus on the patient, consider co-production solutions to the problems of care fragmentation, and be at a system-wide, cross-organisational level. It follows that the analysis, design and therefore evaluation of integrated care projects should be based upon the journeys which older patients with multiple chronic conditions usually have to make from professional to professional and service to service. A systematic realistic review of recent research on integrated care projects identified a number of key mechanisms for care integration, including multidisciplinary care teams, care planning, suitable IT support and changes to organisational culture, besides other activities and contexts which assist care ‘integration.’ Those findings suggest that bringing the diverse services that older people with multiple chronic conditions need into a single organisation would remove many of the inter-organisational boundaries that impede care ‘integration’ and make it easier to address the inter-professional and inter-service boundaries.
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