The importance of relational coordination for integrated care delivery to older patients in the hospital

J Nurs Manag. 2014 Mar;22(2):248-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2012.01481.x. Epub 2012 Oct 20.


Aim: This study investigated relational coordination among professionals providing healthcare to hospitalized older patients and assessed its impact on integrated care delivery.

Background: Previous studies have shown that relational coordination is positively associated with the delivery of acute, emergency and trauma care. The effect of relational coordination in integrated care delivery to hospitalized older patients remains unknown.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was part of an examination of integrated care delivery to hospitalized older patients. Data were collected using questionnaires distributed to hospital professionals (192 respondents; 44% response rate).

Results: After controlling for demographic variables, regression analyses showed that relational coordination was positively related to integrated care delivery (β = 0.20; P ≤ 0.05). Relational coordination was lower among professionals in the same discipline, and higher between nurses and others than between medical specialists and others. Relational coordination and integrated care delivery were significantly higher in geriatrics than in other units (both P ≤ 0.001).

Conclusions: The enhancement of relational coordination among healthcare professionals is positively associated with integrated care delivery to older patients.

Implications for nursing management: Relational coordination should be improved between medical specialists and others and higher levels of relational coordination and integrated care delivery should be achieved in all hospital units.

Keywords: hospital; integrated care; older patients; quality; relational coordination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*