Whole-system approaches to health and social care partnerships for the frail elderly: an exploration of North American models and lessons

Health Soc Care Community. 2006 Sep;14(5):384-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2524.2006.00655.x.


Irrespective of cross-national differences in long-term care, countries confront broadly similar challenges, including fragmented services, disjointed care, less-than-optimal quality, system inefficiencies and difficult-to-control costs. Integrated or whole-system strategies are becoming increasingly important to address these shortcomings through the seamless provision of health and social care. North America is an especially fertile proving ground for structurally oriented whole-system models. This article summarises the structure, features and outcomes of the Program of All-Inclusive Care for Elderly People (PACE) programme in the United States, and the Système de soins Intégrés pour Personnes Agées (SIPA) and the Programme of Research to Integrate Services for the Maintenance of Autonomy (PRISMA) in Canada. The review finds a somewhat positive pattern of results in terms of service access, utilisation, costs, care provision, quality, health status and client/carer satisfaction. It concludes with the identification of common characteristics which are thought to be associated with the successful impact of these partnership initiatives, as well as a call for further research to understand the relationships, if any, between whole-system models, services and outcomes in integrated care for elderly people.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Canada
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration
  • Frail Elderly
  • Health Services for the Aged / organization & administration*
  • Homes for the Aged / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Interinstitutional Relations*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Homes / organization & administration
  • Social Work / organization & administration*
  • United States