• Does integrated health and care in the community deliver its vision? A workforce perspective

      Wain, Linda Marie; University of Chester
      Purpose –The purpose of this paper is to explore and capture workforce perceptions, experiences and insights of the phenomena of integrated care (IC) in a community health and care NHS trust in England; including whether there are any associated factors that are enablers, barriers, benefits or challenges; and the level of workforce engagement in the process of integrated health and care. Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative design based on an interpretivist research paradigm was used with a purposive sampling technique. Five in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with community nursing, social workers and allied health professionals. Colaizzi’s (1978) descriptive phenomenological seven-step method was applied to analyse data, with the emergence of 170 significant statements, 170 formulated meanings and 8 thematic clustering of themes to reveal 4 emergent themes and 1 fundamental structure capturing the essential aspects of the structure of the phenomenon IC. Findings – This study revealed four interdependent emergent themes: (1) Insight of IC and collaboration: affording the opportunity for collaboration, shared goals, vision, dovetailing knowledge, skills and expertise. Professional aspirations of person-centred and strength-based care to improve outcomes. (2) Awareness of culture and professionalism: embracing inter-professional working whilst appreciating the fear of losing professional identity and values. Working relationships based on trust, respect and understanding of professional roles to improve outcomes. (3) Impact of workforce engagement: participants felt strongly about their differing engagement experience in terms of restructuring and redesigning services. (4) Impact of organisational structure: information technology (IT) highlighted a barrier to IC as differing IT platforms prevent interoperability with one system to one patient. Shared positivity of IC, embracing new ways of working. Originality/value – This study proposes considerations for future practice, policy and research from a local, national and global platform, highlighting the need for any IC strategy or policy to incorporate the uniqueness of the “voice of the workforce” as a key enabler to integration developments, only then can IC be a fully collaborative approach.