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Paper Information

Journal:   INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HEALTH POLICY AND MANAGEMENT   2019 , Volume 8 , Number 2; Page(s) 112 To 123.
 
Paper: 

Improving Care for the Frail in Nova Scotia: An Implementation Evaluation of a Frailty Portal in Primary Care Practice

 
DOI: 

10.15171/ijhpm.2018.102

 
Author(s):  Lawson Beverley*, SAMPALLI TARA, WARNER GRACE, BURGE FRED, MOORHOUSE PAIGE, GIBSON RICK, WOOD STEPHANIE, Harnish Ashley, BEDFORD LISA G., EDWARDS LYNN, Ryan Carson Shannon
 
* Department of Family Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
 
Abstract: 
Background: Understanding and addressing the needs of frail patients has been identified as an important strategy by the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA). Primary care (PC) providers are in a key position to aid in the identification of, and response to frailty as part of routine care. Unlike singular chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension which garner a disease-based approach and identification as part of standard practice, frailty is only just emerging as a concept for PC. The web-based Frailty Portal was developed to aid in the identification of, assessment and care planning for frail patients in PC practice. In this study we assess the implementation feasibility and impact of the Frailty Portal by: (1) identifying factors influencing the Frailty Portal’ s use in community PC practice, and (2) examination of the immediate impact of the ‘ Frailty Portal’ on frail patients, their caregivers and PC providers. Methods: A convergent mixed method approach was implemented among PC providers in community-based practice in the NSHA, Central Zone. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected concurrently over a 9-month period. A sample of patients who underwent assessment and/or their caregiver were approached for survey participation. Results: Fourteen community PC providers (10 family physicians, 4 nurse practitioners) completed 48 patient assessments and completed or begun 41 care plans; semi-structured interviews were conducted among 9 providers. Nine patients and 5 caregivers participated in the survey. PC providers viewed frailty as an important concept but implementation challenges were met, primarily with respect to the time required for use and lack of fit with traditional practice routines. Additional barriers included tool usability and accessibility, training and care planning steps, and privacy. Impacts of the tools use with respect to confidence and knowledge showed early promise. Conclusion: This feasibility study highlights the need for added health system supports, resources and financial incentives for successful implementation of the Frailty Portal in community PC practice. We suggest future implementation integrate the Frailty Portal to practice electronic medical records (EMRs) and target providers with largely geriatric practice populations and those practicing within interdisciplinary, collaborative primary healthcare (PHC) teams.
 
Keyword(s): Frail Adults,Identification,Primary Care,Evaluation,Online Tool
 
References: 
 
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