INTRODUCTION: Hospital use increases with age. Older people and their families have reported poor experiences of care at the time of discharge home from hospital. As part of a larger project, we established and evaluated a quality improvement collaborative to address hospital to home transitions for older people. METHODS: We convened an expert panel of 34 stakeholders to identify modifiable issues in the hospital-home transition period. We established a collaborative involving health professionals across a range of agencies working to common goals. Teams were supported by a network manager, three learning sessions and quality improvement methodology to address their identified area for improvement. We used mixed methods to evaluate whether the establishment of the quality improvement collaborative built networks, built capacity in the health professionals and improved the quality of care for older people. Evaluation methods included interviews, surveys, network mapping and case studies. RESULTS: Nine teams (n=41 participants) formed the collaborative and attended all meetings. Mapping showed an increase in networks between participants and organisations at the conclusion of the collaborative. Interview data showed that building relationships across services was one of the most important parts of the collaborative. Survey results revealed that most (77%) believed their quality improvement skills had developed through participation. Advice and regular meetings to progress project work were considered important in ensuring teams stayed focused. In terms of improving the quality of care, some participants indicated that they achieved the stated aims of their project better than expected (21%), most (41%) felt they achieved their aim as expected, 26% got close to their aim and the rest did not know the outcome (13%). CONCLUSIONS: Establishing a quality improvement collaborative was a positive activity in terms of building a network across organisations and progressing quality improvement projects which aimed to achieve the same overall goal.
- healthcare quality improvement
- qualitative research
- quality improvement
- quality improvement methodologies