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‘It’s not just the word care, it’s the meaning of the word…(they) actually care': caregivers’ perceptions of home-based primary care in Toronto, Ontario

  • TRACY SMITH-CARRIER (a1), THUY-NGA PHAM (a2) (a3), SABRINA AKHTAR (a3) (a4), GAYLE SEDDON (a5), MARK NOWACZYNSKI (a3) (a6) and SAMIR K. SINHA (a7) (a8) (a9)...

The frail and homebound older adult populations currently experience difficulties accessing primary care in the medical office. Given this fundamental access to care problem, and the questionable care quality that arises when navigating a labyrinthine health-care system, these populations have typically been subject to inadequate primary care. To meet their needs better, growing research stresses the importance of providing comprehensive home-based primary care (HBPC), delivered by an inter-professional team of health-care providers. Family care-givers typically provide the majority of care within the home, yet their perceptions of HBPC remain under-researched. The purpose of this study was to explore unpaid care-givers' perceptions of and experiences with HBPC programmes in Toronto, Canada. We conducted qualitative inductive content analysis, using analytic procedures informed by grounded theory, to discover a number of themes regarding unpaid care-givers' understandings of HBPC. Findings suggest that, compared to the standard office-based care model, HBPC may better support unpaid care-givers, providing them assistance with system navigation and offering them the peace of mind that they are not alone, but have someone to call should the need arise. The implications of this research suggest that HBPC could be a model to help mitigate the discontinuities in care that patients with comorbid chronic conditions and their attendant unpaid care-givers experience when accessing fragmented health, home and social care systems.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Tracy Smith-Carrier, School of Social Work, King's University College at Western University, 266 Epworth Avenue, FB 106, London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 2M3 E-mail:
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