A care pathway constitutes a complex care strategy for decision-making and the organization of processes in the care of complex chronic patients, avoiding the fragmentation of care. Health professionals play a decisive role in the implementation, development, and evaluation of care pathways. This study sought to explore nurses' opinions on the care pathway for complex chronic patients three years after its implementation. The study participants were thirteen nurses with different roles who were involved in the care pathway. Thematic content analysis of the semi-structured interviews resulted in four major themes: (a) the strengths of the route; (b) the impact of the route on caregivers; (c) the weaknesses of the route; and (d) the future of the route. Overall, the pathway was positively valued for the benefits it provides to patients, the caregiver, and the administration of professional health care. Participants voiced their concerns regarding: communication and coordination difficulties among professionals across the different levels of care, the need for improved teamwork and consensus among professionals at the same center, and human and material resources. The ongoing evaluation and monitoring of facilitators and barriers is necessary throughout the implementation process, to ensure continuity and quality of care in the health system.
Keywords: Spain; care pathway; integrated health care; long-term care; qualitative research; quality of health care.