Integrated care models aim to solve the problem of fragmented and poorly coordinated care in current healthcare systems. These models aim to be patient-centered by providing continuous and coordinated care and by considering the needs and preferences of patients. The objective of this study was to evaluate the opinions and experiences of community-living older adults with regard to integrated care and support, along with the extent to which it meets their health and social needs.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 23 older adults receiving integrated care and support through "Embrace," an integrated care model for community-living older adults that is based on the Chronic Care Model and a population health management model. Embrace is currently fully operational in the northern region of the Netherlands. Data analysis was based on the grounded theory approach.
Responses of participants concerned two focus areas: 1) Experiences with aging, with the themes "Struggling with health," "Increasing dependency," "Decreasing social interaction," "Loss of control," and "Fears;" and 2) Experiences with Embrace, with the themes "Relationship with the case manager," "Interactions," and "Feeling in control, safe, and secure". The prospect of becoming dependent and losing control was a key concept in the lives of the older adults interviewed. Embrace reinforced the participants' ability to stay in control, even if they were dependent on others. Furthermore, participants felt safe and secure, in contrast to the fears of increasing dependency within the standard care system.
The results indicate that integrated care and support provided through Embrace met the health and social needs of older adults, who were coping with the consequences of aging.