Journal of Primary Health Care Journal of Primary Health Care Society
Journal of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Usual primary care of older people in New Zealand: association between practice characteristics and practice activities

Leah Palapar 1 , Laura Wilkinson-Meyers 2 , Thomas Lumley 3 , Ngaire Kerse 1
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

1 Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand

2 Health Systems Section, School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand

3 Department of Statistics, Faculty of Science, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Correspondence to: Ngaire Kerse, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. Email: n.kerse@auckland.ac.nz

Journal of Primary Health Care 9(1) 78-84 https://doi.org/10.1071/HC16039
Published: 7 March 2017

Journal Compilation © Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners 2017.
This is an open access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Information on the processes used by primary care practices to help identify older patients in need of assistance are limited in New Zealand.

AIM: To describe the processes used to promote early problem detection in older patients in primary care and the practice characteristics associated with the use of these proactive processes.

METHODS: Sixty practices were randomly selected from all primary care practices in three regions (52% response rate) and surveyed in 2010 to identify characteristics of practices performing the following activities: using assessment tools; auditing the practice; conducting specific clinics; providing home visits; and providing active patient follow-up. Practice level variables were examined.

RESULTS: Only 4 (7%) of 57 practices did not perform any of the activities. We found the following associations in the many comparisons done: no activities and greater level of deprivation of practice address (p = 0.048); more activities in main urban centres (p = 0.034); more main urban centre practices doing home visits (p = 0.001); less Canterbury practices conducting specific clinics for frail older patients (p = 0.010); and more Capital and Coast practices following-up patients who do not renew their prescriptions (p = 0.019).

DISCUSSION: There are proactive processes in place in most New Zealand practices interested in a trial about care of older people. Future research should determine whether different types of practices or the activities that they undertake make a difference to older primary care patients’ outcomes.

KEYWORDS: Practice patterns; geriatric assessment; needs assessment; general practice standards


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