An interprofessional team approach to fall prevention for older home care clients ‘at risk’ of falling: health care providers share their experiences
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BACKGROUND: Providing care for older home care clients 'at risk' of falling requires the services of many health care providers due to predisposing chronic, complex conditions. One strategy to ensure that quality care is delivered is described in the integrated care literature; interprofessional collaboration. Engaging in an interprofessional team approach to fall prevention for this group of clients seems to make sense. However, whether or not this approach is feasible and realistic is not well described in the literature. As well, little is known about how teams function in the community when an interprofessional approach is engaged in. The barriers and facilitators of such an approach are also not known. PURPOSE: The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the experiences of five different health care professionals as they participated in an interprofessional team approach to care for the frail older adult living at home and at risk of falling. METHODOLOGY: This study took place in Hamilton, ON, Canada and was part of a randomized controlled trial, the aim of which was to determine the effects and costs of a multifactorial and interdisciplinary team approach to fall prevention for older home care clients 'at risk' of falling. The current study utilized an exploratory descriptive design to answer the following research questions: how do interprofessional teams describe their experiences when involved in a research intervention requiring collaboration for a 9-month period of time? What are the barriers and facilitators to teamwork? Four focus groups were conducted with the care-provider teams (n=9) 6 and 9 months following group formation. RESULTS: This study revealed several themes which included, team capacity, practitioner competencies, perceived outcomes, support and time. Overall, care providers were positive about their experiences and felt that through an interprofessional approach benefits could be experienced by both the provider and the patient and his/her family. Findings from this study suggest that research needs to be conducted to further explore the issues faced by this group of care providers and potential client outcomes.
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