Are nurses well placed as care co-ordinators in primary care and what is needed to develop their role: a rapid review?

Sharon Parker, Jeffrey Fuller

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Care co-ordination is reported to be an effective component of chronic disease (CD) management within primary care. While nurses often perform this role, it has not been reported if they or other disciplines are best placed to take on this role, and whether the discipline of the co-ordinator has any impact on clinical and health service outcomes. We conducted a rapid review of previous systematic reviews from 2006 to 2013 to answer these questions with a view to informing improvements in care co-ordination programmes. Eighteen systematic reviews from countries with developed health systems comparable to Australia were included. All but one included complex interventions and 12 of the 18 involved a range of multidisciplinary co-ordination strategies. This multi-strategy and multidisciplinarity made it difficult to isolate which were the most effective strategies and disciplines. Nurses required specific training for these roles, but performed co-ordination more often than any other discipline. There was, however, no evidence that discipline had a direct impact on clinical or service outcomes, although specific expertise gained through training and workforce organisational support for the co-ordinator was required. Hence, skill mix is an important consideration when employing care co-ordination, and a sustained consistent approach to workforce change is required if nurses are to be enabled to perform effective care co-ordination in CD management in primary care.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)113-122
    Number of pages10
    JournalHealth and Social Care in The Community
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


    • Care co-ordination
    • Chronic disease management
    • Nursing roles
    • Practice nursing
    • Primary care


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