Objective: To identify the factors that contribute to patients' long-term attendance at a family practice teaching unit.
Design: Qualitative method of focus groups.
Setting: A community-based family practice teaching unit in southwestern Ontario.
Participants: Patients who had been coming to St Joseph's Family Medical Centre for more than 15 years were purposefully selected to participate.
Method: Five focus groups composed of patients who had been affiliated with one of the three practices at the Centre for more than 15 years explored factors contributing to long-term attendance.
Main findings: Four key themes were identified as the primary factors contributing to long-term attendance: the relationship context, the team concept, professional responsibility and attitudes, and comprehensive and convenient care.
Conclusion: The resource-rich era of medical care, during which participants formulated their views and opinions about the factors contributing to their long-term attendance at a family practice teaching unit, has come to a close. The findings of this study provide important information that could help maintain one of the basic tenets of family medicine-continuity of care.