Aim: The aim of the study was to explore patients' views and experiences of the community matron role in one primary care provider organization.
Background: Community matrons manage the needs of people living with long-term conditions in the community and aim to improve patient self-management and education, and enhance co-ordination between in primary and social care.
Methods: A purposive sample of 14 service users (ten women, four men; aged 45-89 years) with a range of chronic conditions took part in interviews in 2007. A grounded theory approach was the framework for data collection and analysis.
Findings: The role of the community matron appeared to have a positive impact on patient care mainly in three areas: access, patient advocacy and psychosocial support. Patients thought that they had easier access to healthcare services and that the community matron acted as an advocate by helping them to understand medical jargon and supporting them at hospital appointments, thereby providing a link to secondary care. Some patient perceptions differed from those about other primary care staff.
Conclusion: There is evidence that community matrons may have a beneficial effect on patients' perceptions of their care, psycho-social support, access to services and advocacy. The impact of this role on the patient experience needs to be taken into account when evaluating this nursing role and services, as benefits may not be captured by relying solely on quantitative evaluations of hospital readmission rates.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.