Practice nurses and older people: a case management approach to care.

Primary Care Nursing Research Unit, King's College London, London, UK.
Journal of Advanced Nursing (Impact Factor: 1.69). 09/2005; 51(4):343-52.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This paper reports on aspects of a study designed to answer the research questions: (i) To what extent do practice nurses use the five cyclical elements of a case management approach when caring for people aged over 75 years? (ii) What determines or deters practice nurses' use of the cyclical elements of a case management approach in caring for older people?
Case management is an approach that uses a cyclical process of assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation to provide systematic proactive care to people with complex health and social care needs. In England, specialist practice nurse case managers for older people have been piloted in ten primary care trusts and the posts are to be implemented nationally by 2008. No baseline work has, however, considered the applicability of developing the existing generalist practice nurse workforce.
A 26-item structured postal questionnaire was used to explore both practice nurses' use of a case management approach when working with older people, and what factors influenced the care provided. A random sample of 500 practice nurses was selected from the Royal College of Nursing Practice Nurse Association member database.
A 45% response rate was achieved. Practice nurses assessed, planned and implemented care, but reviewing medication opportunistically and evaluating the care were uncommon. A case management approach was significantly (P = 0.005) more likely to be used in on-going management activities than in one-off treatment room care. Practice nurses with postregistration education in district nursing were significantly (P = 0.016) more likely to refer patients to social care services. Lack of time and the central role of the general practitioner were the main reasons for not incorporating case management into practice. CONCLUSIONS. The extent to which practice nurses used elements of a case management approach was highly variable and influenced by individual professional expertise, the nature of the consultation and the practice nurse's position in the general practice.

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