Assessment of quality of care pathway and outcome for older patients

What was the issue you were addressing or working on?

The project is targeting older people recently discharged from hospital to obtain feedback on their experiences of hospital care, discharge planning and accessing community support services.  In addition it has looked at the experiences of older people currently in receipt of home care and community services.  The research has focussed on quality of care, patient satisfaction and whether the service needs of older people and their carers are being met.

What you did?

Adopting an action research approach, this qualitative research project collects and analyses older service users’ feedback on health and community services in Highland.  Firstly, it identifies critical issues of immediate concern for older service users and reports to NHS Highland with the long-term aim of developing, implementing and trialling patient-driven improvements in service provision.  Secondly, it identifies service priorities and care needs for older people, their carers and families to inform service planning and ensure patient involvement in service development.  Patient consultation is essential to achieve policy imperatives concerning person-centred care, self-management and personalisation in health services.

From December 2012 to October 2013 a total of 36 semi-structured interviews have been undertaken with a purposive sample of older service users, carers and family members in Highland.  In addition four social and healthcare staff have been interviewed and three of the original 36 have been contacted to give an update on their circumstances.  The age of service users has ranged from 63 to 94 years.  On average the interviews have lasted 42 minutes.  Questions have focussed on what has worked well, what has not worked well, whether needs have been met and service priorities for older people and carers.  To date the research has been conducted in Inverness-shire, Ross-shire and North West Sutherland, but the project is planning to cover other areas e.g. Lochaber.

What were the outcomes - benefits or otherwise?

Interim findings have been presented to NHS Highland and qualitative analysis of interview data is on-going.  Issues raised have included home care, discharge planning, respite, communication with patients & relatives, support for carers, public transport in rural areas and quality of care homes

Contacts - to find out more

Dr Ian McNamara,