Aim: To consider findings from a study that evaluated case management of individuals with long-term conditions (LTCs) by a community matron (CM) service. The paper highlights issues related to the implementation of a new role and the impact this had on the experience of care across hospital and community settings for patients and their carers.
Background: The introduction of the role of CM was intended to increase effective management of patients with complex comorbid LTCs through the introduction of case management, thereby reducing unplanned hospital admissions.
Methods: The overall methodological approach was one of mixed methods. This paper reports the qualitative findings from CMs (n = 15); patients (n = 13); family carers (n = 8); and secondary care staff who interface with the CM service (n = 7). Data were collected between October 2009 and May 2010.
Findings: A thematic analysis resulted in the identification of four themes: (1) visibility; (2) interpersonal relationships; (3) leadership; and (4) systems/professional boundaries. Patients enjoyed being seen as a whole and family carers appreciated the coordination aspect of the role. Difficulties arose from the limited understanding of the CM role and from a lack of a shared vision across healthcare professionals concerning the role and its goals.