Addressing safety risks in integrated care programs for older people living at home

M. Lette*, E. A. Ambugo, T. P. Hagen, G. Nijpels, C. A. Baan, S. R. de Bruin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Background
Many older people live at home, often with complex and chronic health and social care needs. Integrated care programs are increasingly being implemented as a way to better address these needs. To support older people living at home, it is also essential to maintain their safety. Integrated care programs have the potential to address a wide range of risks and problems that could undermine older people’s ability to live independently at home. The aim of this scoping review is to provide insight into how integrated care programs address safety risks faced by older people living at home - an area that is rather underexplored.

Methods
Safety was conceptualised as preventing or reducing the risk of problems, associated with individual functioning and behaviour, social and physical environments, and health and social care management, which could undermine older people’s ability to live independently at home. For this scoping review a systematic literature search was performed to identify papers describing integrated care programs where at least one intervention component addressed safety risks. Data were extracted on the programs’ characteristics, safety risks addressed, and the activities and interventions used to address them.

Results
None of the 11 programs included in this review explicitly mentioned safety in their goals. Nevertheless, following the principles of our conceptual framework, the programs appeared to address risks in multiple domains. Most attention was paid to risks related to older people’s functioning, behaviour, and the health and social care they receive. Risks related to people’s physical and social environments received less attention.

Conclusion
Even though prevention of safety risks is not an explicit goal of integrated care programs, the programs address a wide range of risks on multiple domains. The need to address social and environmental risks is becoming increasingly important given the growing number of people receiving care and support at home. Prioritising a multidimensional approach to safety in integrated care programs could enhance the ability of health and social care systems to support older people to live safely at home.
Original languageEnglish
Article number81
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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