Innovations in the nursing care of the chronically ill: a literature review from an international perspective
This literature review focuses on substitution-related innovations in the nursing care of chronic patients in six western industrialized countries. Differences between primary and secondary care-orientated countries in the kind of innovations implemented are discussed. Health care systems are increasingly being confronted with chronic patients who need complex interventions tailored to their individual needs. However, it seems that today’s health care professionals, organizations and budgets are not sufficiently prepared to provide this kind of care. As a result, health care policy in many countries targets innovations which reduce health care costs and, at the same time, improve the quality of care. Frequently, these innovations are related directly to the ‘substitution of care’ phenomenon, in which care is provided by the most appropriate professional at the lowest cost level, and encompass advanced nursing practice, hospital-at-home care and integrated care. The main conclusion of this paper is that integrated care innovations are implemented in both primary care as well as in secondary care-orientated countries. However, innovations in hospital-at-home care and advanced nursing practice are primarily implemented in primary care-orientated countries. Whether these innovations positively influence the quality of care, costs of care or patients’ use of health care facilities remains rather unclear.