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AT THE INTERFACE OF HEALTH AND COMMUNITY CARE: DEVELOPING LINKAGES BETWEEN AGED CARE SERVICES IN A RURAL CONTEXT

Authors


Andrew Robinson Tasmanian School of Nursing, Anne O’Byrne Centre, University of Tasmania, 287–291 Charles Street, Launceston, Tas. 7250, Australia. Email: <Andrew.Robinson@utas.edu.au>

Abstract

This paper explores issues concerning the development of linkages across the interface between acute and community aged care services in a small regional Australian city. It addresses a participatory action research project that took place over a 2 year period involving an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). Aged Care Assessment Teams are multidisciplinary teams whose members mediate between hospitals and the aged care system in the community and have a key role in developing networks and linkages between various service providers in the field. In an age of economic rationalist-inspired reform agendas in health and community care, rural infrastructures have been compromised to such a degree that the role of rural ACAT in developing linkages between sectors has never been more important. This paper takes up this issue and addresses the project findings, which highlight a field characterised by ineffective linkages within and between the various sectors, a lack of understanding of the operation of the rural aged care system among nurses working in regional hospitals, and the efficacy of ACAT working collaboratively with nurses to create new and more effective linkages in aged care.

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