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The interface between primary care and care homes: General Practitioner experiences of working in care homes for older people

White, Caroline; Alton, Elisabeth


Elisabeth Alton


Supporting residents in care homes for older people is an important, though little studied, aspect of the General Practitioner (GP) role. This study explored GPs’ experiences of working to support older people living in care homes, and the challenges and facilitators to providing effective care in this unique practice environment. A qualitative online survey was shared with GPs in England via Twitter and through Named Doctor for Safeguarding networks. This was available from October 2019–March 2020 and was completed by 58 GPs. Responses were analysed using inductive Thematic Analysis. Participants highlighted the complexity of care home residents’ health, with multiple long-term conditions frequently reported. Furthermore, dementia and communication difficulties meant the GPs were often reliant on communication with others (staff and families). GPs had to navigate multiple relationships within care homes, including with residents, staff/managers, families and other healthcare practitioners, all of whom could have competing perspectives and priorities. Gaining access to information about resident health could be challenging, and was affected by staff continuity/discontinuity; lack of Wi-Fi access was also common. Care home organisation of and support for the visit was important. We conclude that care home work requires GP skills to meet resident healthcare needs, as well as to navigate multiple relationships. GPs are often reliant on others; this has important implications, both risking marginalising the resident voice, and in respect of recognising and reporting abuse.


White, C., & Alton, E. (in press). The interface between primary care and care homes: General Practitioner experiences of working in care homes for older people. Health and Social Care in the Community,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 7, 2022
Online Publication Date Jan 26, 2022
Deposit Date Jan 21, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 27, 2023
Journal Health and Social Care in the Community
Print ISSN 0966-0410
Electronic ISSN 1365-2524
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords General practice; Care homes; Older people; Adult safeguarding; Qualitative research
Public URL


Accepted manuscript (243 Kb)

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©2022 University of Hull

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