Supervision of care networks in home environments for frail elderly people

General practitioners and district nurses are part of the core team in the care for frail elderly people living in home environments. Together with informal caregivers they ensure that the care meets the needs of the vulnerable elderly people. And they also enable elderly people to live at home as long as possible.

In 2019 and 2020, the Dutch Health and Youth Care Inspectorate (IGJ) supervises the collaboration between general practitioners and district nurses in the care for frail elderly people. Our inspectors visit home care facilities and general practitioners in six different areas in the Netherlands. In addition, the inspectors talk to number of frail elderly people and their informal caregivers.

Why does the Inspectorate supervise the care networks of frail elderly people?

Previous research of IGJ points out that the coordination and coherence in care networks for frail elderly people is often flawed. Furthermore, the collaboration between GPs and district nurses is not always self-evident. Therefore, the Inspectorate specifically inspects this collaboration. IGJ wants to contribute to improvement and assurance of the collaboration between general practitioner care and district nursing in the care for frail elderly people.

Supervision of collaboration general practitioner care and district nursing in the care for frail elderly people

IGJ expects the GP and the district nurse to provide proper care. In addition, they are supposed to cooperate in care networks of frail elderly people. It is important that they know each other and that they are familiar with each other’s activities. When necessary, the GP and the district nurse must inform each other and coordinate with each other. The Inspectorate uses general professional standards and professional guidelines, for example LESA ‘Care for vulnerable elderly people’ (2017) (Dutch) to inspect this cooperation.

Care for frail elderly people

Why is this supervision useful?

The supervision provides insight into what is going well and what can be improved in the cooperation between general practitioner care and district nursing. The Inspectorate writes a report for every area visited. The inspectors discuss the results with the general practitioners, the practice support aids, the district nurses and the board members of home care facilities.

In 2020 IGJ will publish a report with the main conclusions based on the supervision in the six visited areas. IGJ also discusses these results with parties at a national level such as the professional associations for general practitioner care and district nursing, or national policymakers.