Understanding integrated care

Journal article citation:
International Journal of Integrated Care, 16(4), 2016, Online only
International Foundation for Integrated Care

Integrated care is a concept that is now commonly accepted across the world yet there remains a persistent and enduring ‘confusion of languages’ when it comes to understanding it. This perspective paper seeks to bring a degree of clarity to the meaning of integrated care. It argues that integrated care cannot be narrowly defined, but should be seen as an overarching term for a broad and multi-component set of ideas and principles that seek to better co-ordinate care around people’s needs. At its simplest, integrated care is an approach to overcome care fragmentations, especially where this is leading to an adverse impact on people’s care experiences and care outcomes. Integrated care may be best suited to people with medically complex or long-term care needs, yet the term should not be solely regarded as a means to managing medical problems since the principles extend to the wider definition of promoting health and wellbeing. Indeed, it seems that whilst our understanding of integrated care has advanced it also continues to evolve and be debated. At its heart, however, lies a commitment to improving the quality and safety of care services through ongoing and co-productive partnerships. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
integrated care;
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