Context and aims: Our previous research into general practitioner (GP) attitudes to residential aged care facility (RACF) visiting revealed significant GP frustration with avoidable organisational and logistical barriers. This study expanded our enquiry by investigating barriers and enablers of satisfactory RACF GP visits from the point of view of all its stakeholders: residents; their families; RACF staff; and GPs.
Methods: A multi-site study was conducted at four RACFs in regional and rural Australia. Interviews were conducted with 35 participants (8 GPs, 9 RACF staff, 12 residents and 6 family members). The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.
Findings: The importance of communication and accessibility among the stakeholders to satisfactory resident medical care emerged as major themes. Good communication between all stakeholders was considered paramount. This included advanced care planning which was seen as important in communicating the residents’ health care requests. Lack of access to GPs, registered nurses, and resident health/medication information were sources of frustration. Improved access to GPs was deemed a priority and increased registered nurses staffing ratios were sought to support their pivotal roles as resident agent, advocate, care coordinator and in family liaison. Finally, the current duplication and dislocation of medical records, and cumbersome medication systems were decried by GPs and RACF staff.