Implementation of case management in long-term conditions in England: survey and case studies

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{OBJECTIVES}: Our aim was to describe the current provision of case management arrangements in primary care for people with long-term conditions in England and identify the extent and nature of self-care support services within it. {METHODS}: Cross-sectional survey of primary care trusts ({PCTs}) in England and four case studies using semi-structured interviews and focus groups. {RESULTS}: Services were predominantly nurse-led, typically by community matrons, and delivered on a geographical basis. Often multiple arrangements existed within a {PCT} but integration of services with local authority adult social care was not widespread. A range of self-care support services were utilized and often tuition was provided by case managers to patients in their own homes. Assessment, care coordination and direct support to patients were the principal tasks. Often care plans were limited to primary care services and did not include service costings. Links with nurse-led services within {PCTs} were evident but operational links with adult social care were poorly developed. This is consistent with previous research relating to the introduction of care management in social services in England which also resulted in a plethora of organizational arrangements. {CONCLUSIONS}: Case management for patients with long-term conditions is at an early stage of development. Effective links with a range of local services are required if care plans are going to be comprehensive.

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