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      Explaining the barriers to and tensions in delivering effective healthcare in UK care homes: a qualitative study

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          Abstract

          Objective

          To explain the current delivery of healthcare to residents living in UK care homes.

          Design

          Qualitative interview study using a grounded theory approach.

          Setting

          6 UK care homes and primary care professionals serving the homes.

          Participants

          Of the 32 participants, there were 7 care home managers, 2 care home nurses, 9 care home assistants, 6 general practitioners (GPs), 3 dementia outreach nurses, 2 district nurses, 2 advanced nurse practitioners and 1 occupational therapist.

          Results

          5 themes were identified: complex health needs and the intrinsic nature of residents’ illness trajectories; a mismatch between healthcare requirements and GP time; reactive or anticipatory healthcare?; a dissonance in healthcare knowledge and ethos; and tensions in the responsibility for the healthcare of residents. Care home managers and staff were pivotal to healthcare delivery for residents despite their perceived role in social care provision. Formal healthcare for residents was primarily provided via one or more GPs, often organised to provide a reactive service that did not meet residents’ complex needs. Deficiencies were identified in training required to meet residents’ needs for both care home staff as well as GPs. Misunderstandings, ambiguities and boundaries around roles and responsibilities of health and social care staff limited the development of constructive relationships.

          Conclusions

          Healthcare of care home residents is difficult because their needs are complex and unpredictable. Neither GPs nor care home staff have enough time to meet these needs and many lack the prerequisite skills and training. Anticipatory care is generally held to be preferable to reactive care. Attempts to structure care to make it more anticipatory are dependent on effective relationships between GPs and care home staff and their ability to establish common goals. Roles and responsibilities for many aspects of healthcare are not made explicit and this risks poor outcomes for residents.

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          Most cited references12

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          A systematic review of integrated working between care homes and health care services

          Background In the UK there are almost three times as many beds in care homes as in National Health Service (NHS) hospitals. Care homes rely on primary health care for access to medical care and specialist services. Repeated policy documents and government reviews register concern about how health care works with independent providers, and the need to increase the equity, continuity and quality of medical care for care homes. Despite multiple initiatives, it is not known if some approaches to service delivery are more effective in promoting integrated working between the NHS and care homes. This study aims to evaluate the different integrated approaches to health care services supporting older people in care homes, and identify barriers and facilitators to integrated working. Methods A systematic review was conducted using Medline (PubMed), CINAHL, BNI, EMBASE, PsycInfo, DH Data, Kings Fund, Web of Science (WoS incl. SCI, SSCI, HCI) and the Cochrane Library incl. DARE. Studies were included if they evaluated the effectiveness of integrated working between primary health care professionals and care homes, or identified barriers and facilitators to integrated working. Studies were quality assessed; data was extracted on health, service use, cost and process related outcomes. A modified narrative synthesis approach was used to compare and contrast integration using the principles of framework analysis. Results Seventeen studies were included; 10 quantitative studies, two process evaluations, one mixed methods study and four qualitative. The majority were carried out in nursing homes. They were characterised by heterogeneity of topic, interventions, methodology and outcomes. Most quantitative studies reported limited effects of the intervention; there was insufficient information to evaluate cost. Facilitators to integrated working included care home managers' support and protected time for staff training. Studies with the potential for integrated working were longer in duration. Conclusions Despite evidence about what inhibits and facilitates integrated working there was limited evidence about what the outcomes of different approaches to integrated care between health service and care homes might be. The majority of studies only achieved integrated working at the patient level of care and the focus on health service defined problems and outcome measures did not incorporate the priorities of residents or acknowledge the skills of care home staff. There is a need for more research to understand how integrated working is achieved and to test the effect of different approaches on cost, staff satisfaction and resident outcomes.
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            A national census of care home residents.

            the medical and dependency characteristics of UK care home residents have not been well described. This undermines care commissioning, development and regulation. Data to inform policy and practice are needed. to survey the dependency and clinical diagnoses of 16,043 people resident in the 244 care homes distributed across the UK managed by the largest provider of care in the UK. (i) Return rate of 97% (15,483 returns suitable for analysis). (ii) 25% were 'residential' and 75% in 'nursing' care. (iii) Medical morbidity and associated disability rather than non-specific frailty and social needs had driven admission in over 90% of residents. (iv) More than 50% of residents had dementia, stroke or other neurodegenerative disease. (v) Overall, 76% of residents required assistance with their mobility or were immobile. 78% had at least one form of mental impairment and 71% were incontinent. 27% of the population were immobile, confused and incontinent. (vi) Considerable overlap in dependency between residential and nursing care observed: only 40% of those in residential care were ambulant without assistance and 46% were incontinent. the practicality of acquiring information on care home residents has been demonstrated. The care needs of people in care homes are largely determined by progressive chronic diseases. A single assessment and commissioning at the point of entry to care services is unlikely to address changing needs. Alternatives to institutional long-term care should only be considered in the context of current resident profiles, the practicality of providing alternative models and likely projected population needs.
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              A survey of physiotherapy and occupational therapy provision in UK nursing homes.

              Nursing homes in the UK are increasingly regarded as potential rehabilitation facilities for disabled older people. To determine the current physiotherapy and occupational therapy provision to UK nursing homes. Four hundred private nursing homes in England, Scotland and Wales were selected by stratified proportional random sampling and surveyed by postal questionnaire. The response rate for the effective sample was 346/355 (97%). Only 10% of residents were in current receipt of physiotherapy, mostly through private physiotherapists employed by the nursing homes. Occupational therapy was being provided to only 3.3% of residents. Older people in nursing homes in the UK currently receive little physiotherapy and occupational therapy input and are particularly isolated from National Health Service (NHS) services.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                bmjopen
                bmjopen
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                2044-6055
                2013
                18 July 2013
                : 3
                : 7
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing, Queens Medical Centre, School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nottingham , Nottingham, UK
                [2 ]NIHR Research Design Service—East Midlands, School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Dr Isabella Joy Robbins; isabella.robbins@ 123456nottingham.ac.uk
                Article
                bmjopen-2013-003178
                10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003178
                3717448
                23872297
                a98640eb-664d-4570-b725-192f889c0f80
                Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions

                This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

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                Categories
                Health Services Research
                Research
                1506
                1704
                1698
                1725

                Medicine
                primary care,qualitative research
                Medicine
                primary care, qualitative research

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