A Conceptual Framework for Integrated Community Care

Int J Integr Care. 2021 Feb 10;21(1):5. doi: 10.5334/ijic.5555.


Introduction: The various health and social care services provided in a given local area (i.e., place-based) must not only deliver primary care in proximity to the population, but act upstream on the social determinants of health. This type of care, when provided in a holistic and integrated manner, aims to improve the physical and mental health-but also the well-being and social capital-of individuals, families, groups and communities. This type of approach is known as Integrated Community Care (ICC).

Theory and methods: This article was developed from a non-systematic review of scientific and grey literature followed by a qualitative analysis and researcher reflections on ICC.

Results: The article presents the core concepts of ICC, namely temporality, local area, health care, social care, proximity and integration. These concepts are unpacked and a conceptual diagram is set forth to put the dynamic links between the concepts into perspective.

Discussion and conclusion: The purpose of the article is to provide a conceptual clarification of ICC. Three examples of practise (from Switzerland, Quebec [Canada] and Italy) are used as illustrations to provide a better understanding of ICC and to open up horizons.

Keywords: community based; health care; integrated care; proximity; social care; temporality.