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1.  Home visits for frail older people: a qualitative study on the needs and preferences of frail older people and their informal caregivers 
The British Journal of General Practice  2012;62(601):e554-e560.
Background
A number of studies have examined the effects of home visits and showed inconsistent results on physical functioning, institutionalisation, and mortality. Despite continuing interest from professionals in home visits for older people, reports on older people’s needs and preferences for such visits are scarce.
Aim
This qualitative study aims to explore the views and needs of community-dwelling frail older people concerning home visits.
Design and setting
A qualitative study including interviews with frail older persons and their informal caregivers living in the area of Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Method
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with frail older people and informal caregivers. A grounded theory approach was used for data-analysis.
Results
Eleven frail older people and 11 informal caregivers were included. Most participants emphasised the importance of home visits for frail older people. They felt that it would give older people the personal attention they used to receive from GPs but miss nowadays. Most stated that this would give them more trust in GPs. Participants stated that trust is one of the most important factors in a good patient–professional relationship. Further, participants preferred home visits to focus on the psychosocial context of the patient. They stated that more knowledge of the psychosocial context and a good patient–professional relationship would enable the professional to provide better and more patient-centred care.
Conclusion
Patients’ expectations of home visits are quite different from the actual purpose of home visiting programmes; that is, care and wellbeing versus cure and prevention. This difference may partly explain why the effectiveness of home visits remains controversial. Future studies on home visits should involve patients in the development of home visiting programmes.
doi:10.3399/bjgp12X653606
PMCID: PMC3404333  PMID: 22867679
frail elderly; house calls; patient preference; primary health care
2.  Filling the Gaps in a Fragmented Health Care System: Development of the Health and Welfare Information Portal (ZWIP) 
JMIR Research Protocols  2012;1(2):e10.
Background
Current health care systems are not optimally designed to meet the needs of our aging populations. First, the fragmentation of care often results in discontinuity of care that can undermine the quality of care provided. Second, patient involvement in care decisions is not sufficiently facilitated.
Objective
To describe the development and the content of a program aimed at: (1) facilitating self-management and shared decision making by frail older people and informal caregivers, and (2) reducing fragmentation of care by improving collaboration among professionals involved in the care of frail older people through a combined multidisciplinary electronic health record (EHR) and personal health record (PHR).
Methods
We used intervention mapping to systematically develop our program in six consecutive steps. Throughout this development, the target populations (ie, professionals, frail older people, and informal caregivers) were involved extensively through their participation in semi-structured interviews and working groups.
Results
We developed the Health and Welfare Information Portal (ZWIP), a personal, Internet-based conference table for multidisciplinary communication and information exchange for frail older people, their informal caregivers, and professionals. Further, we selected and developed methods for implementation of the program, which included an interdisciplinary educational course for professionals involved in the care of frail older people, and planned the evaluation of the program.
Conclusions
This paper describes the successful development and the content of the ZWIP as well as the strategies developed for its implementation. Throughout the development, representatives of future users were involved extensively. Future studies will establish the effects of the ZWIP on self-management and shared decision making by frail older people as well as on collaboration among the professionals involved.
doi:10.2196/resprot.1945
PMCID: PMC3626145  PMID: 23611877
Self-care; cooperative behavior; interdisciplinary communication; electronic health records; frail elderly
3.  Implementation of an innovative web-based conference table for community-dwelling frail older people, their informal caregivers and professionals: a process evaluation 
Background
Due to fragmentation of care, continuity of care is often limited in the care provided to frail older people. Further, frail older people are not always enabled to become involved in their own care. Therefore, we developed the Health and Welfare Information Portal (ZWIP), a shared Electronic Health Record combined with a communication tool for community-dwelling frail older people and primary care professionals. This article describes the process evaluation of its implementation, and aims to establish (1) the outcomes of the implementation process, (2) which implementation strategies and barriers and facilitators contributed to these outcomes, and (3) how its future implementation could be improved.
Methods
Mixed methods study, consisting of (1) a survey among professionals (n = 118) and monitoring the use of the ZWIP by frail older people and professionals, followed by (2) semi-structured interviews with purposively selected professionals (n = 12).
Results
290 frail older people and 169 professionals participated in the ZWIP. At the end of the implementation period, 55% of frail older people and informal caregivers, and 84% of professionals had logged on to their ZWIP at least once. For professionals, the exposure to the implementation strategies was generally as planned, they considered the interprofessional educational program and the helpdesk very important strategies. However, frail older people’s exposure to the implementation strategies was less than intended. Facilitators for the ZWIP were the perceived need to enhance interprofessional collaboration and the ZWIP application being user-friendly. Barriers included the low computer-literacy of frail older people, a preference for personal communication and limited use of the ZWIP by other professionals and frail older people. Interviewees recommended using the ZWIP for other target populations as well and adding further strategies that may help frail older people to feel more comfortable with computers and the ZWIP.
Conclusions
This study describes the implementation process of an innovative e-health intervention for community-dwelling frail older people, informal caregivers and primary care professionals. As e-health is an important medium for overcoming fragmentation of healthcare and facilitating patient involvement, but its adoption in everyday practice remains a challenge, the positive results of this implementation are promising.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-251
PMCID: PMC3470954  PMID: 22894654
E-health; Implementation; Process evaluation; Frail older people; Primary care
4.  Development of an instrument for the identification of frail older people as a target population for integrated care 
The British Journal of General Practice  2013;63(608):e225-e231.
Background
Primary care is increasingly interested in the identification of frailty, as it selects the target population for integrated care. However, instruments for the identification of frailty specifically validated for use in primary care are scarce. This study developed the Easycare Two-step Older persons Screening (Easycare-TOS), which provides a valid, efficient, and pragmatic screening procedure to identify frail older people.
Aim
This paper aims to describe the development of the Easycare-TOS and the data from the pilot studies.
Design and setting
Observational pilot study in seven academic GP practices in and around Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Method
The Easycare-TOS was developed in a cyclic process with the input of stakeholders. In every cycle, the requirements were first defined, then translated into a prototype that was tested in a pilot study. The Easycare-TOS makes optimal use of prior knowledge of the GP, and the professionals’ appraisal is decisive in the frailty decision, instead of a cut-off score. Further, it considers aspects of frailty, as well as aspects of the care context of the patient.
Results
The pilot data have shown that after step 1, two-thirds of the patients do not need further assessment, because they are judged as not frail, based on prior knowledge of the GP. The overall prevalence of frailty in this pilot study is 24%. Most professionals who participated in the pilot studies considered the time investment acceptable and the method to be of added value.
Conclusion
The Easycare-TOS instrument meets the predefined efficiency, flexibility, and acceptability requirements for use as an identification instrument for frailty in primary care.
doi:10.3399/bjgp13X664289
PMCID: PMC3582982  PMID: 23561790
delivery of health care, integrated; efficiency; feasibility studies; frail elderly; primary health care

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