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Unpacking Healthcare Professionals’ Work to Achieve Coherence in the Healthcare Journey of Elderly Patients: An Interview Study

Authors Kumlin M, Berg GV, Kvigne K, Hellesø R

Received 28 December 2020

Accepted for publication 11 February 2021

Published 4 March 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 567—575


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Marianne Kumlin,1– 3 Geir Vegar Berg,2,4 Kari Kvigne,1 Ragnhild Hellesø3

1Department of Health and Nursing Sciences, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences Elverum, Elverum, Norway; 2Innlandet Hospital Trust, Lillehammer, Norway; 3Department of Nursing Science, Institute of Health and Society, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; 4Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Gjøvik, Norway

Correspondence: Marianne Kumlin Tel +47 91594685
Email [email protected]

Aim: Today, seamless, person-centered healthcare is emphasized when dealing with elderly patients with comprehensive needs. Studies have uncovered a complex healthcare terrain. Despite a great deal of effort on the part of policy makers and healthcare providers, the work healthcare professionals undertake to develop seamless healthcare is still unclear. Therefore, the aim of this study was to uncover the work that healthcare professionals undertake to achieve coherent and comprehensive healthcare for elderly patients with multiple health problems during their journey through the complex healthcare terrain.
Methods: This study has an explorative design with individual interviews. Twenty-five healthcare professionals from primary and specialist care agreed to participate. A thematic analysis method was employed.
Results: The analyses revealed three central themes in the healthcare professionals’ work to build coherence in the patients’ care trajectory: Working to manage a patient’s illness trajectory during the course of the patient’s life, working to achieve a comprehensive overall picture, and considering multiple options in a “patchwork” terrain.
Conclusion: Healthcare professionals have a common understanding that hospital stays are a short part of the elderly person’s journey in the healthcare system. In the comprehensive work to obtain the overall picture of the illness trajectory within the patient’s life story, healthcare professionals emphasized the importance of working in an interdisciplinary manner. Interprofessional consulting and collaboration should be strengthened to build coherence in the older patient’s complex care trajectory.

Keywords: older, care trajectory, complex healthcare, health personnel, interdisciplinary

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