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Gac Sanit. 2011 Dec;25 Suppl 2:138-46. doi: 10.1016/j.gaceta.2011.09.003. Epub 2011 Nov 15.

Integrated models of care delivery for the frail elderly: international perspectives.

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  • 1Department of Health Administration, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada.



Interest is growing in integrated systems of care for the frail elderly. Few such systems have been both documented and evaluated in a rigorous manner. The present article provides an international review of such systems.


The literature on integrated care covered the period from 1997 to 2010, inclusive. Some 2,496 citations were identified from Age Line, PsycINFO, CINAHAL and MedLine and were reviewed. To be included in this paper, articles had to provide a good description of the care delivery system and good quality evaluations. Only nine articles were retained. Most of the articles reviewed described some form of coordinated care without evaluation.


There were essentially two types of models of integrated care delivery for the frail elderly. One was a smaller, community-based model that relied on cooperation across care providers, focused on home and community care, and played an active role in health and social care coordination. The second type of model was a large-scale model that could be applied at a national/provincial/state, or large regional health authority, level, had a single administrative authority and a single budget, and included both home/community and residential services.


Integrated care delivery can be achieved in various ways. Irrespective of which model is adopted, some of the key factors to be considered are how care can be coordinated effectively across different types of services, and how all the care provider organizations can be coordinated to ensure continuity of care for frail elderly persons.

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