The provision of telecare for older adults in England is increasingly being facilitated by care navigators in the non-statutory sector. The purpose of this paper is to explore the experiences of care navigators when assessing older adults for telecare and to understand what contextual and organisational factors impact on their practice.
A purposeful sample of care navigators and telecare installers was selected. Care navigators were recruited from five non-statutory organisations. In order to provide an insight into telecare provision by this sector, telecare installers were also recruited. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 participants covering: role, training, assessment, reviews, installation, suitability, impact, aims, outcomes, and organisational structure. Interview data were analysed using the framework approach.
Five main themes emerged from the analysis: responsiveness, autonomy, knowledge exchange, evolving practice, and sustaining performance.
This study included a small sample, and was only based in one local authority, focusing on the experience of care navigators in only one sector.
The findings suggest that strategic placement of care navigators could support the demand for telecare assessment to facilitate discharges from hospital. This study highlights the perception of home assessment as a gold standard of practice for care navigators. In order to develop a more sustainable model for care navigators’ capacity to work within hospital teams and provide home assessments needs further consideration.
This study is one of the first to explore the role of the care navigator and their involvement in the provision of telecare for older adults.
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