Meanings of Care Convoys: The Structure, Function, and Adequacy of Care Networks Among Frail, Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Deborah Lambotte, An-Sofie Smetcoren, G A Rixt Zijlstra, Jan De Lepeleire, Liesbeth De Donder, Martinus J M Kardol
Qualitative Health Research 2019 July 15, : 1049732319861934
Researchers propose that the convoy of care model should be used to study care networks of frail, older individuals. Care convoys are defined as the evolving collection of individuals who may or may not have close personal connections to the recipient or to one another, but who provide care, including help with activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), socio-emotional care, skilled health care, monitoring, and advocacy. This study reports on community-dwelling older adults' experiences of their care convoy, how care convoys change over time, and perceived (positive) outcomes. A qualitative analysis among 65 semi-structured interviews with frail, community-dwelling older adults demonstrates a great variety in the composition of care convoys. Participants were often actively involved in their care convoy and valued the social/relational aspect of care. Care and support covered a wide range of activities, with some activities being provided by specific types of caregivers. Participants expressed the adequacy of their care convoy in terms of satisfaction and sufficiency. Noteworthy, participants who were satisfied with their care convoy did not necessarily receive sufficient help. Policies and practice should recognize the relational aspect of care, the complex interplay between all actors, and the dynamic character of care convoys.


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