Introduction: This study expanded on our previous research into general practitioner (GP) attitudes to residential aged care facility(RACF) visiting (Pearson et al 2018) by investigating barriers and enablers of 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 thirty-five participants (8 GPs, 9 RACF staff, 12 residents and 6 family members). The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.
Four major themes emerged from the qualitative interviews data:
• The commitment and value of continuity of resident care by permanent medical and nursing staff: was considered necessary by all stakeholders.
• The accessibility of both people and information: was important from GPs’ perspective in terms of ready access to informed RACF staff, the resident and their past/present health information and their care wishes (e.g. Advanced care directives). The RACF staff, residents and family members wanted ready access to GPs both in- hours and after -hours.
• Effective resident advocacy: a role chiefly devolving upon RACF staff but also conducted by GPs, family or residents themselves was considered paramount.
• Communication and teamwork: the importance of reliable, efficient communication between GPs and RACF staff, residents and family who exhibit mutual trust and respect was emphasised by all stakeholders.
Conclusion: We infer from our findings that satisfactory resident medical care requires the recognition and support of RACF staff provision of ongoing informed resident advocacy, the employment of systems supporting efficient communication of medical information, and the development of close teamwork and communication between stakeholders.