Multidisciplinary care planning in the primary care management of completed stroke: a systematic review
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Background Chronic disease management requires input from multiple health professionals, both specialist and primary care providers. This study sought to assess the impact of co-ordinated multidisciplinary care in primary care, represented by the delivery of formal care planning by primary care teams or shared across primary-secondary teams, on outcomes in stroke, relative to usual care. Methods A Systematic review of Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL (all 1990–2006), Cochrane Library (Issue 1 2006), and grey literature from web based searching of web sites listed in the CCOHA Health Technology Assessment List Analysis used narrative analysis of findings of randomised and non-randomised trials, and observational and qualitative studies of patients with completed stroke in the primary care setting where care planning was undertaken by 1) a multi-disciplinary primary care team or 2) through shared care by primary and secondary providers. Results One thousand and forty-five citations were retrieved. Eighteen papers were included for analysis. Most care planning took part in the context of multidisciplinary team care based in hospitals with outreach to community patients. Mortality rates are not impacted by multidisciplinary care planning. Functional outcomes of the studies were inconsistent. It is uncertain whether the active engagement of GPs and other primary care professionals in the multidisciplinary care planning contributed to the outcomes in the studies showing a positive effect. There may be process benefits from multidisciplinary care planning that includes primary care professionals and GPs. Few studies actually described the tasks and roles GPs fulfilled and whether this matched what was presumed to be provided. Conclusion While multidisciplinary care planning may not unequivocally improve the care of patients with completed stroke, there may be process benefits such as improved task allocation between providers. Further study on the impact of active GP involvement in multidisciplinary care planning is warranted.
© 2008 Mitchell et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.