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J Soc Policy. 1990 Jul;19(3):331-60.

Keyworkers for elderly people in the community: case managers and care co-ordinators.

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  • 1Department of Health and Social Welfare, Open University.


In the United Kingdom a range of services for elderly people in the community has developed that is delivered by a variety of professionals and administered within different organisations. This has resulted in a problem of co-ordinating services to meet the individual needs of the most frail elderly people. In the United States 'case management' has been introduced as a way of improving the co-ordination of care. Despite structural differences in the provision of health and social services between the United States and the United Kingdom, the concept of case management has influenced the design of a number of innovatory schemes in the United Kingdom, including the Gloucester Care for Elderly People at Home project (CEPH). These innovatory schemes have demonstrated the need for a 'keyworker' and clarified the tasks that are involved in taking responsibility for co-ordinating services to meet the needs of elderly people at risk of failing to cope at home. There is, however, a danger of proliferating the complexity of service provision by creating a new breed of professional; an alternative might be to alter the responsibilities, attitudes and team orientation of existing professional workers so as to include taking on the keyworker role for some of their clients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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