Designing an integrated care initiative for vulnerable families: Operationalisation of realist causal and programme theory, Sydney Australia

John G. Eastwood, Miranda Shaw, Pankaj Garg, Denise E. De Souza, Ingrid Tyler, Lauren Dean, Morag Macsween, Michael Moore

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Abstract

Introduction: In July 2015 Sydney Local Health District (SLHD) implemented an integrated care initiative for vulnerable families in the Inner West region of Sydney, Australia. The initiative was designed as a cross-agency care coordination network that would ensure that vulnerable families: had their complex health and social needs met; kept themselves and their children safe; and were connected to society. We will describe the development of the design that drew on earlier realist causal and program theoretical work. Methods: Realist causal and program theory were used to inform the collaborative design of an initiative for vulnerable families. The collaborative design process included: identification of desirable and undesirable outcomes and contextual factors, stakeholder consultation, interagency planning, and development of a service proposal. Results: The design elements included: identification of vulnerable family cohorts; care coordination; evidence-informed intervention(s); general practice engagement and support; family health improvement; placed-based neighbourhood initiatives; interagency system change and collaborative planning; monitoring of individual and family outcomes; and evaluation. Conclusions: The design study described advances toward the implementation of a whole-of-govern-ment integrated health and social care initiative. The initiative was designed as a cross-agency care coordination network that would ensure that vulnerable families: had their complex health and social needs met; kept themselves and their children safe; and were connected to society. In so doing we aim to break intergenerational cycles of poverty, violence and crime, poor education and employment opportunities, psychopathology, and poor lifestyle and health behaviours, through strengthening family resilience, improving access to services, and addressing the social determinants of health and wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
JournalInternational Journal of Integrated Care
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Child and family
  • Critical realism
  • Design
  • Integrated care

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