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Research & theory

‘Continuity of care’: a critical interpretive synthesis of how the concept was elaborated by a national research programme

Authors:

Janet Heaton ,

Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, GB
About Janet
Janet Heaton is a Research Fellow at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth. She was formerly a Research Fellow at the Social Policy Research Unit, University of York 1995-2009. She is currently involved in an internal evaluation of the NIHR CLAHRC for the South-West Peninsula and an ESRC-funded qualitative secondary analysis of young adults’ accounts of growing up with a chronic illness.
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Anne Corden,

Social Poilcy Research Unit, University of York, GB
About Anne
Anne Corden is a Senior Research Fellow at the Social Policy Research Unit, University of York. Anne specialises in qualitative research, including the experience of people within a range of services and regulatory systems. She has a special interest in research methodology, and has made contributions to the development of qualitative longitudinal research, mixed methods and assessment of ‘quality’ in qualitative work.
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Gillian Parker

Social Policy Research Unit, University of York, GB
About Gillian
Gillian Parker is Director of the Social Policy Research Unit, University of York. Her research interests include boundaries in health and social care; the relative responsibilities of the state, the family and the individual for providing and paying for care; and the relationship between research and policy-making. Recent and current research includes work on models of care ‘closer to home’ for children with complex or long-term needs, on integrated service for people with long-term neurological conditions; and on interventions to support carers.
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Abstract

Introduction: A Continuity of Care Research Programme was undertaken in England in 2000-9. The Programme was informed by a conceptual framework proposed by Freeman and colleagues in an earlier scoping study. At the end of the Programme, a conceptual synthesis was carried out in order to confirm or refine the 'Freeman model' of continuity of care.

Methods: A conceptual synthesis of the outputs of the Programme, using Critical Interpretive Synthesis.

Results: The conceptual framework underpinning the Freeman model of continuity of care, which prioritises the perspectives of service users and carers, was variously utilised in the Programme. Analysis revealed indications of an emerging shift from the patient and carer 'perspectivist' paradigm of the Freeman model towards a new 'partnership' paradigm where continuity is recognised to be co-constructed by patients, families and professionals, all of whom have an active part to play in its accomplishment.

Conclusions: The projects in the Programme have advanced understanding of patients' perspectives on continuity of care and on the complex nature of this concept. At the same time, they have raised issues and reported findings which may be indicative of an emergent paradigm shift in this area of research, towards a more dynamic partnership model.

How to Cite: Heaton J, Corden A, Parker G. ‘Continuity of care’: a critical interpretive synthesis of how the concept was elaborated by a national research programme. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2012;12(2):None. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.794
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Published on 13 Apr 2012.
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