New project launched to explore how well health and social care services are coordinated

Five leading independent health care organisations, including the Nuffield Trust, have today launched a new project exploring older people’s experiences of integrated care.

Press release

Published: 19/03/2014

Five leading independent health care organisations have today launched a new 18 month project aiming to capture older people’s experiences of care coordination.

The project comes amidst intense policy interest in better joining up health and social care in England. It will be delivered by the Nuffield Trust, Picker Institute Europe, The King’s Fund, International Foundation for Integrated Care and National Voices.

The project, which is funded by the Aetna Foundation, is designed to help health and care providers to improve the coordination of care. To do this, a survey tool will be developed to measure how older people and service users experience care when it is delivered by multiple organisations.

This work will allow health and social care services in the UK and internationally to measure the quality of integrated care from the perspective of their users.

Better joined up health and social care services is a priority for most modern health care systems and the English NHS is no exception

As joined up care is critical for older people with long-term conditions such as dementia and diabetes, and for those with multi-morbidities, the tool will be designed to understand the perspectives of people aged 65 and over with at least one long-term condition.

This tool will be a reliable, valid, and easy-to-use instrument suitable for use by different kinds of local services, not restricted to one type of provider. The survey tool will be developed and tested amongst older patients and service users in England.

It is hoped that the work will support improvements in the commissioning and delivery of well-coordinated, integrated care locally in the UK, and be of relevance to other user groups and for quality improvement efforts internationally.

The work, which gets underway this month, will be based on a literature review combined with input from patients/service users and their representative groups. This will be followed by the development of a tailored questionnaire that will be fully piloted and tested. The final tool set will be available for use in the summer of 2015.

Don Redding, Director of Policy at National Voices said:

When care is fragmented it affects patients and carers and can have a detrimental impact on their quality of life. But we currently have no way to assess the experience of service users with regard to care coordination. This is a major gap both here and in other countries, which this tool will help to fill.

Ruth Thorlby, Senior Policy Fellow at the Nuffield Trust said:

Better joined up health and social care services is a priority for most modern health care systems and the English NHS is no exception.

With a series of Government and locally-led initiatives currently underway to encourage more coordinated care, this work will provide us with a robust way of establishing baselines and measuring progress from the perspective of patients and service users themselves.”

Notes to editors

  • The project, Developing a patient reported measure of care coordination, is funded by the Aetna Foundation. Each partner organisation will have discrete responsibilities in the project, with the Nuffield Trust providing overall coordination, the Picker Institute designing and developing the questionnaire, National Voices in coordinating access to the views of patients, carers and users and expert guidance from The King’s Fund and International Foundation for Integrated Care.
  • The Aetna Foundation, a national foundation based in Hartford, Connecticut, supports projects to promote wellness, health and access to high-quality health care for everyone. The views presented here are those of the project team and not necessarily those of the Aetna Foundation, its directors, officers, or staff.
  • The project follows a previous collaboration by the partner organisations, which looked at the options for how to measure people’s experiences of integrated care. That project, as well as a follow-up study by the Picker Institute and the University of Oxford, is available on their website.