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Care coordination: translating policy into practice for older people

Diane Seddon (Senior Research Fellow at the School of Social Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, UK)
Anne Krayer (Research Officer at the School of Social Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, UK)
Catherine Robinson (Professor of Social Policy Research at the School of Social Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, UK)
Bob Woods (Professor of Clinical Psychology of Older People at the School of Psychology, Bangor University, Bangor, UK)
Yvonne Tommis (Research Fellow at the School of Social Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, UK)

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults

ISSN: 1471-7794

Article publication date: 14 June 2013

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Abstract

Purpose

The authors aim to present findings from their research on the implementation of Unified Assessment (UA) policy and the work of care coordinators who oversee the delivery of support to older people with complex needs.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed methods approach included staff interviews (n=95) and focus groups (n=3).

Findings

The care coordinator role is controversial and the lack of common terminology across health and social care obscures its importance. It is seen as a social care responsibility. Limited ownership amongst healthcare professionals leads to tensions in practice. The challenges of breaking down silo thinking embedded in established professional practices are highlighted as are infrastructural and capacity deficits. Disparities between policy intentions and practice means that UA is failing to meet core objectives relating to the delivery of seamless support.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is needed to develop and evaluate evidence‐informed interventions that test solutions to the problems faced in practice and support the delivery of more effective arrangements.

Practical implications

Practice development may be supported by: guidelines that are more prescriptive and include a formal role definition; joint training to promote shared understanding of key concepts; investment in administrative and IT infrastructures; and more coordinated direction at strategic level.

Originality/value

Over a decade has elapsed since the publication of UA Policy Guidance; however, there is limited published evidence on the effectiveness of UA policy and its translation into practice.

Keywords

Citation

Seddon, D., Krayer, A., Robinson, C., Woods, B. and Tommis, Y. (2013), "Care coordination: translating policy into practice for older people", Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 81-92. https://doi.org/10.1108/14717791311327033

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited