Continuity of care for older hospital patients

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Consistent, reliable high-quality care is what all patients want and health workers aim to provide. However, the reality for most patients, particularly those in acute hospitals, often falls far short of the ideal. In the context of acute care, the risks of fragmentation and breakdown in care co-ordination are high, especially for older patients.

This paper focuses on those aged 70 years and older with multiple health problems and explores how continuity of care affects them and the people closest to them. In addition to reviewing the published evidence both in the UK and beyond, this paper also includes case studies from individual carers and examples of interventions designed to strengthen relationships between patients, carers and professionals.

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