An exploration of health and social care service integration in a deprived South Wales area

  • Carolyn Ann Wallace

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Frailty poses a complex challenge for some people through their experience of ageing. In Wales, devolution requires organisations to use a whole systems approach with a model of partnership to deliver public services. An integrated care approach is offered to meet the service user focus or 'value demand' which impacts on clinical, professional, organisational and policy levels within the system. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore whether there was a difference between integrated health and social care day services and non- integrated health and social care day services. In doing so, answering the questions, how were these services different, what were the differences as perceived by the participants, why were they different, what could be learned from this study and how could health and social care services integrate in practice?

    The study utilized Gadamer‘s interpretative hermeneutics with a single intrinsic case study design. Using this approach ensured that the unique voice of the individual lived experience was heard and interpreted within the whole system of the study. The participants were service users, carers and staff in a day hospital, an outpatient clinic, day centre, reablement team and a joint day care facility. The methods included a survey questionnaire (SF12v2 and London Handicap Scale), in-depth interviews, observations; and historical and service documents; and reflective diary. Data collection occurred January 2005 to December 2006. Quantitative and qualitative data were analysed separately. The qualitative data was analysed using Gadamer‘s five stage approach developed by Fleming et al (2003) and Nvivo 7.0. The embedded quantitative data was analysed using SPSS version 13.0. Triangulation was achieved through the use of a meta matrix which merged the qualitative and quantitative data.

    The difference between integrated and non integrated services is expressed through the four themes, 'the study participants‘, 'commissioning and decommissioning integrated services‘, 'the journey within day services‘, 'navigating services and orchestrating care'. The four themes were developed through a strategy used for interpreting the findings, which was to follow the study questions, propositions and 'emic' questions. The differences between the integrated and non integrated services were in the meaning of their purpose, culture, level of integration, team orientation of practice and the model of service user/carer relationship observed within the services. The thesis identified challenges in respect of integrated working such as concept confusion, negative experiences of care for frail or older people, a vertical gap in knowledge transfer between strategic organisation, the operational services and service users. Mapping each service level of integration and team orientation to the model of service user and carer relationship, found that the level of team orientation and integration does not appear to be proportionate to the service user and carer relationship.

    The thesis concludes that in order to attempt to answer the question as to whether these day services can integrate in the practice, all levels of the system should focus on the service user/carer relationship. We need to understand service user diagnosis, how its characteristics and effect are interpreted by the service user, carer, professional and wider society in relation to independence and autonomy. It argues that knowledge emerges at this micro level (service user and carer relationship) and how we engage with this relationship and manage the knowledge we gain from it (both vertically and horizontally), will lead us to understand how we can ensure that integration occurs and that services in the future are person focussed.

    Date of Award2010
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    • University of Worcester
    SponsorsUniversity of Glamorgan & Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust


    • health care
    • social care
    • day care
    • integrated care services
    • South Wales
    • deprivation
    • devolution

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