The experience of transitions in care in very old age: implications for general practice

Fiona Scheibl, Jane Fleming, Jacqueline Buck, Stephen Barclay, Carol Brayne, Morag Farquhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: It can be challenging for general practitioners to support their oldest old patients through the complex process of relocation.
Objective: To provide a typology of the experiences of moving in very old age that is clinically useful for practitioners navigating very old people’s relocation.
Methods: Qualitative analysis of data from a mixed methods UK population-based longitudinal study, Cambridge City over-75s Cohort (CC75C), from Year 21 follow-up onwards. Interviews with participants aged ≥95 years old and proxy informants (Year 21:44/48, 92%, subsequent attrition all deaths). Thematic analysis of qualitative data available from 26/32 participants who moved before they died.
Results: Individuals who moved voluntarily in with family experienced gratitude, those who moved into sheltered house or care homes voluntarily had no regrets. One voluntary move into care was experienced with regret, loss and increased isolation as it severed life-long community ties. Regret and loss were key experiences for those making involuntary moves into care, but acceptance, relief and appreciation of increased company were also observed. The key experience of family members was trauma. Establishing connections with people or place ahead of moving, for example through previous respite care, eased moving. A checklist for practitioners based on the resulting typology of relocation is proposed.
Conclusion: Most of the sample moved into residential care. This study highlights the importance of connections to locality, people and place along with good family relationships as the key facilitators of a healthy transition into care for the oldest old. The proposed checklist may have clinical utility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)778-784
Number of pages7
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number6
Early online date4 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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