Client experience with family doctor being informed

How clients rated their family doctor’s knowledge of their home care services. (see data dictionary)

What do you think?

  • Why does it matter if a family doctor knows the details of their patient’s home care services?
  • Are there differences between zones? Between mainly rural and urban zones? What factors could account for these differences?

Whether you’re a client, family member, provider, or health system administrator, thinking about why these differences might exist can start or inform conversations and lead to solutions for improved quality of healthcare.

Understanding “family doctor knowledge of home care services”

In a survey conducted from October 2018 to March 2019, the HQCA asked clients receiving home care:

In the last year, my family doctor seemed to know about important details of my home care services….

Clients could choose “Yes, most of the time / Yes, some of the time / No / I don’t have a family doctor”

Clients can experience many benefits when home care and primary care are effectively co-ordinated, including more effective chronic disease management, reduced emergency department visits, and reduced hospital admissions. This can enable seniors to live well in the community as long as possible.

Considerations when viewing the results:

This data reflects the experiences of seniors aged 65+ receiving long term supportive and maintenance care and are among the largest groups of home care clients.

There are a number of factors providers and leaders can consider to better understand and improve client experiences with their family doctor being informed about their home care services. Some questions they could ask before taking action include:

  • Why is it important for home care and primary care to work together and share information, improving both management and informational continuity? How does home care currently work and share information with primary care? How might this relationship impact the quality of client/patient care and services?
  • How can the roles of home care and primary care be better defined and coordinated to support seamless transition and hand-offs for the client/patient between these two care providers? What is the Primary Health Care Integration Network’s role in supporting transitions of care between these two areas of the healthcare system? What about home care’s role?
  • What is the client’s role in talking to their family doctor about their care plan?
  • What role does the clients’ family doctor have in contributing to the care planning process as it relates to home care services? What responsibility exists for a family doctor to know what is included in the care plan?
  • How might care planning and case management be improved with input from primary care?
  • How does important information exchanged between home care and primary care flow back to the client? Whose responsibility is it (home care or primary care) to engage the client in the conversation or close the loop on communication?

For information about the HQCA’s Alberta Seniors Home Care Client Survey, please visit the HQCA website.

The Health Quality Council of Alberta uses the Alberta Quality Matrix for Health as a way of organizing information and thinking around the complexity of the healthcare system. This measure can be used as input to assess home care’s performance in these dimensions of quality:
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Dimensions of Quality

  • Acceptability 
  • Accessibility 
  • Appropriateness 
  • Effectiveness 
  • Efficiency 
  • Safety