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The Case for a Model of Care

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THE CASE FOR A MODEL OF CARE

Contemporary health care systems are constantly challenged to revise traditional methods of health care delivery. These challenges are multifaceted and stem from:

1. novel pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments; 2. changes in consumer demands and expectations; 3. fiscal and resource constraints; 4. changes in societal demographics in particular the ageing of society; 5. an increasing burden of chronic disease; 6. documentation of limitations in traditional health care delivery; 7. an increasing emphasis on transparency and accountability, 8. evidence based practice (EBP) and clinical governance structures; and 9. the increasing cultural diversity of the community.

These challenges provoke discussion of the necessity of developing services around a model of care.

What do we mean by a model of care?
Ambiguity exists in the literature, with the terms, model of care, nursing model, philosophy, paradigm, framework and theory often used interchangeably, despite referring to diverse, yet parallel concepts (Tierney 1998).

In their recent review of the literature, the Queensland Government (Australia) reported that they found no consistent definition of ‘model of care’ (Queensland Health 2000). They concluded that a model of care is a multidimensional concept that defines the way in which health care services are delivered (Queensland Health 2000).

More specifically, Davidson and Elliott (2001) described a model of care as a conceptual tool that is ‘a standard or example for imitation or comparison, combining concepts, belief and intent that are related in some way’ (p. 121). They consider it to be critical that models of care should: * be evidence based and/or grounded in theoretical propositions; * be based upon assessment of client and health provider needs; *

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