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Discovering integrated care in community hospitals

Helen Tucker (University of Warwick, Warwick, UK)

Journal of Integrated Care

ISSN: 1476-9018

Article publication date: 29 November 2013




The purpose of this paper is to explore the presence and nature of integrated care in community hospitals.


Staff reported their views and experiences of integrated care in 48 questionnaires for a Community Hospitals Association programme. An analytical framework was developed based on eight types of integration, and the community hospital services concerned were grouped into nine service categories.


Staff reported multiple types of integration, averaging four types (median), with a range of two to eight (of the eight types studied). The types of integration most frequently reported were multidisciplinary care, and community hospital/secondary care and community hospital/primary care. Integration with communities, patients and the third sector featured in many of the services. Integration with social care and local authorities were least frequently reported. Services with the highest number of types of integration (5+) included palliative care, maternity services and health promotion. Staff reported that commitment was a positive factor whilst a lack of staff resources hindered partnership working.

Research limitations/implications

Staff volunteered to be part of the programme which promoted good practice, and although the findings from the study cannot be generalised, they do contribute knowledge on key partnerships in local hospitals. Further research on the types, levels and outcomes of integrated care in a larger sample of community hospitals would build on this study and enable further exploration of partnership working.

Practical implications

The analytical framework developed for the study is being applied by staff and community groups as a tool to help assess appropriate partnership working and help identify the scope for further developing integrated care. The evidence of integrated working is available to inform those commissioning and providing community health services.


This study has shown that integrated working is present in community hospitals. This research provides new knowledge on the types of integrated care present in a range of community hospital services. The study shows a tradition of joint working, the presence of multiple simultaneous types of integration and demonstrated that integrated care can be provided in a range of services to patients of all ages in local communities.



The author would like to acknowledge Dr Emma Gibbard Head of Evaluation, Avon Primary Care Research Collaborative for her assistance with final drafting and presentation.


Tucker, H. (2013), "Discovering integrated care in community hospitals", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 336-346.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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