Integrated Palliative Care for Nursing Home Residents: Exploring the Challenges in the Collaboration between Nursing Homes, Home Care and Hospitals.
Nursing home residents are a vulnerable and frail segment of the population, characterised by their complex and palliative care needs. To ensure an integrated approach to palliative care for this target group, working on a collaborative basis with multiple providers across organisational boundaries is necessary. Considering that coordinators of palliative networks support and coordinate collaboration, the research question is: 'how do network coordinators perceive the process of collaboration between organisations in Flemish palliative networks?'
A dual-phase sequential mixed-methods design was applied. First, the coordinators of each of the fifteen palliative networks in Flanders completed a survey in which they evaluated ten aspects of collaboration for two types of cooperation: between nursing homes and home care, and between nursing homes and hospitals. Next, the survey results thus obtained were discussed to improve understanding in a focus group composed of the above coordinators, and which was analysed on the basis of content analysis.
In both forms of cooperation, the 'formalisation' and 'governance' were the aspects that yielded the lowest mean scores. The coordinators in the focus group expressed a need for more formalised interaction among organisations with regard to palliative care, the establishment of formal channels of communication and the exchange of information, as well as the development of shared leadership.
The perspectives of the coordinators on inter-organisational collaboration are a valuable starting point for interventions directed at the stronger integration of palliative care for residents of long term-care facilities.